HBO // 2009 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // December 15th, 2009
He's all over the hood.
Like most people, I was primarily familiar with George Lopez due to his presence in family-friendly sitcoms and films. I had never actually seen one of his stand-up comedy specials before, but I honestly wasn't terribly surprised to discover that George Lopez: Tall, Dark and Chicano is considerably more R-rated than most of the material with which Lopez is generally associated. After all, the realm of stand-up comedy has traditionally been a place for family-friendly comics to unleash their more ribald material (Bob Saget perhaps being the most striking example). Taking a cue from Mr. Saget, Lopez unleashes a fairly filthy though mildly entertaining stand-up routine...eventually.
The show was originally broadcast live on HBO, and it takes place in a sold-out AT&T Center with a crowd of over 14,000 people in attendance. Lopez is clearly enthralled by this fact, and spends the first portion of the program strutting about the stage with proud enthusiasm and offering declarations of his greatness: "I sold this mother#*@$er out in a down economy!" is his boisterous mantra. He continues in this vein for a while: "Make some noise for all the people watching this live on HBO!" After this, Lopez unleashes a politically charged, comedy-free speech about a few things that happen to be on his mind. He offers an f-you to every senator who didn't vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, he talks about how the Latino community is growing and cannot be ignored anymore, and he throws a few verbal punches in the direction of notorious anti-illegal immigration pundit Lou Dobbs.
Once his rant is over, Lopez digs into the comedy. Much of the material in this special is racially charged, frequently relying on the sort of, "white people do things like this, but Latinos do things like this!" sort of gags. Some of this material is rather enjoyable, though I have to confess that it began to grow a little tiresome after a while. Much of Lopez's comedy is rooted in rather weary stereotypes. Funny though they may be, his insistence on characterizing people of different skin colors in such a generalizing, broad manner prevents the special from ever reaching the sort of resonance that it might have had. There's no such thing as a romantic and sensitive Mexican? Caucasians are all hapless squares who know nothing of the real world? Such notions are nonsense, regardless of the playful humor of Lopez's presentation.
There's also a rather generous portion of time devoted to sexuality, particularly masturbation. Lopez discusses the favorite pastime of teenage boys of yesteryear, indicating that kids don't masturbate as much as they used to due to the many gaming systems and modern technologies that are available to distract them these days. "We only had one game we could play back then," he cackles, "The original I-Touch!" His microphone frequently doubles as a penis and/or vibrator, as Lopez works up a considerable sweat while putting on a variety of very colorful, sexually-charged displays. He does a particularly extensive routine on the joys women get from vibrators, whirring and clicking and moaning his way through a series of battery-powered settings.
My favorite segment came close to the end, when Lopez makes the amusing case that Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, and Brad Pitt are all honorary members of the Latino community ("Obama lives in a house that he doesn't own, of course he's a Latino!"). He closes the show in a manner similar to his opening, proudly declaring that he has performed the whole routine with no water, no towel, and only one kidney. Finally, he concludes by promising that when the Hispanic population overtakes this country in a few years, they will treat white people with the same "dignity and respect" with which Hispanics have been treated. "So have your license and registration with you at all times when you drive," he declares to wild applause.
The transfer is just fine, though there isn't a whole lot to see. It's basically just Lopez simply set against a pink and purple background. Still, facial detail is quite solid, blacks are nice and deep, and everything looks solid. The audio is a good deal more problematic, particularly when it comes to Lopez's delivery. For whatever reason, the audio sounds like it was recorded from somewhere in the middle of the auditorium rather than pulled directly from Lopez's microphone. The volume level varies drastically throughout, made all the more problematic by Lopez's tendency to go from quiet to screaming in a single beat. This is a pretty serious issue, one that should be considered if one is considering a purchase of this disc. There are no extras of any sort included on the disc.
Though hardly one of the most strikingly brilliant or laugh-out-loud hilarious stand-up specials I've seen in recent years (not to mention that it gets rather mean-spirited at times), George Lopez: Tall, Dark and Chicano is just enjoyable enough to merit a look. Consider a rental rather than a purchase.
Not guilty, I guess.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated