Image Entertainment // 2012 // 77 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // September 29th, 2012
The return of the pale.
Jim Gaffigan is a funny guy. The Indiana born comedian has become one of the hottest acts in recent years. He's been a mainstay on Comedy Central, popping up in various stand-up specials, including his huge hit recording, Jim Gaffigan: Beyond the Pale. Gaffigan's style is uniquely laid back and comes off as an everyman; even his look -- near albino white with a bit of heft and thinning hairline -- makes him appear to be the funny neighbor we love having a beer with on Friday night. Gaffigan has also been seen a slew of various films, including Super Troopers, 17 Again, and Going the Distance (okay, clearly the guy has better taste in choosing comedic material than movie scripts).
Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe is your basic nuts and bolts stand-up special; while the material is good, it doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. The comedian riffs about everything from easy targets like McDonalds to working out at the gym ("Bodybuilders...when I see them, I want to tell them: Why are you still here? Go home. You're done.") to hotel amenties ("I'm glad hotels leave stationary in your room, because the first thing I wanna do when I get to a hotel is write a letter"). The hotel riff is especially funny, as he discusses how we all change when we stay at hotels ("If you're the oddball that uses a shower cap, you've probably brought your own"). I especially chuckled at his observation, "Has anyone on the other side of a hotel peep hole ever not looked like a serial killer?"
I like the man's style, which makes Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe a breeze to sit through. If memory serves, he didn't feel the need to swear or get overly raunchy (wanting to sit naked on the hotel couch because "hey, it's not mine" is about the dirtiest he gets). Gaffigan's delivery is sort of a cross between Brian Regan and Jeff Foxworthy sans the accent; laziness permeating his set list to great effect. About shoe shopping: "Is there a slipper section? I just need them for between when I'm sitting down." Discussing the perils of exercising: "You always hear swimming is the best exercise, but have you seen how fat whales are? It's just not working for the whales." And weight struggles: "Have you seen the Domino's Bread Bowl? It's a bread bowl filled with pasta, covered with cheese. The only thing it's missing is a suicide note." Gaffigan's observations are biting and funny, rarely mean spirited or cruel (except for a riff on Subway restaurants).
Presented in standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the transfer looks good for the material. All we see is a guy standing on a stage with a microphone, and once in a while we get to see the audience laugh. I don't think anyone will complain about the visual fidelity of that. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo track is clearly heard from the front and side speakers. No alternate language tracks or subtitles are included, nor are there any bonus features.
Gaffigan is that rare breed of comedian -- much like Jerry Seinfeld -- who is able to squeeze laughs out of the mundane details of life. Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe is an amusing way to kill off 77 minutes of your day. It's not revolutionary, but it is funny, and sometimes that's enough.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 77 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Jim Gaffigan