HBO // 2006 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // July 19th, 2006
One of a kind beats everything.
Many people who are on the Al Franken side of the political spectrum of Saturday Night Live comics have all said the same thing, either individually or collectively. "What the hell happened to Dennis Miller? He started out a smart comedian who could sub-reference with the best of them, but ever since he did play by play for Monday Night Football for a couple of disastrous years, he's become a grouchy, right-wing, Bush-fundraising flunkie." And there's probably some degree of truth in the sudden change of morality that Miller displayed during the bumper crop of SNL talent that produced Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, and Phil Hartman. But maybe, just maybe (without dipping my toe too far into the chlorine-filled swimming pool of public political discourse), Miller saw what happened in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania and thought that we needed somebody driving the wheel of the American school bus who would be willing to do whatever it takes to stop it from happening again.
Besides, it's not like politics and diplomacy are really the models of perfect execution today. To paraphrase P.J. O'Rourke's book Peace Kills, the foreign policy of Bill Clinton was all touchy and huggy, and resulted in threats from North Korea, strained relations with China and Russia, a seemingly endless turn of violence in the Middle East, and a World Trade Center attack in the first year of his term. George Bush 43's take-no-prisoners form of foreign policy resulted in ...threats from North Korea, strained relations with China and Russia, a seemingly endless turn of violence in the Middle East, and a World Trade Center attack in the first year of his term. And Lewis Black provides a little bit of balance when it comes to crazed political figures on the right side of the aisle. For every Rick Santorum, he points out, there's a Ted Kennedy. For every Karl Rove, there's a James Carville. For every Janeane Garofalo, there's an Ann Coulter. But the common thread that is present in the material of both Black and Miller (admittedly, a little bit more in Black's than Miller's over the last several years) is that these people should not be trusted to run a relay race, much less the country.
Filmed in Las Vegas, All In is another Miller stand-up special for HBO, who helped produce his talk show in the '90s. Noticeably graying (and optically challenged), Miller tackles a wide variety of subjects, some of which are pretty topical, until he gets to the current-events stuff. The subject of Las Vegas porn handouts is a pretty funny joke, but it seems like everyone has already talked about how brutal their plane/ train/ bus/ teleporting ride to get to the town they perform in was, and that's a little bit annoying. He does give the generic material time to stretch out (about half of Miller's hour is given to this) before he starts to talk about the most recent presidential election, the Terri Schiavo case, and anything else that may catch his fancy.
All In is not as sharp as Miller's 1990Black and White special or as intellectual as his television show. At 52 years of age, Dennis Miller is becoming my dad, save for the HBO specials and being whip-smart funny. He's becoming a guy who is distrustful of the government to do what's right, but when it comes to having our best and brightest do whatever it takes to take the fight to the bad guys, Miller says just that and then some. It's almost embarrassing to say, but he's done a better job of elaborating my thoughts on the war on terror than the people who are facilitating the war on terror. He's not without his own thoughts on Bill Clinton and gay marriage (if two people are in love, who should be allowed to regulate that, Miller says), and thinks that the only thing to stop a Hillary '08 presidential run would be ...wait for it ...Bill, as Miller thinks he just can't help himself.
Miller is aging just fine, thank you (even if some of his material isn't), and those who castigate (and almost ostracize) him for his views should remember what they're doing to him the next time they say that "Dubya" is taking away our rights of opinion and expression. Dennis Miller may be turning into a righty curmudgeon, but that doesn't mean he's not funny anymore.
Review content copyright © 2006 Ryan Keefer; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Dennis Miller Official Site