There's something mental about Judge Kristin Munson. Her therapists are working on it.
What a load of Blarney.
St Patrick's Day is a time when people with even a speck of green in their blood eat corned beef, drink tinted beer, and generally feel well-disposed to someone with a brogue, so it's no wonder Image Entertainment is releasing Tommy Tiernan's American comedy debut in March. Any other month and we'd probably call bullshit on the sub-par humor and melodramatic performance.
Tiernan is the recipient of multiple comedy awards, the star of a mega-popular series of UK DVDs, and has even been named the "Funniest Living Irish Person," yet Something Mental is a total disappointment. Maybe he was having a bad night or maybe the Chicago audience wasn't responding to the material; either way, the performance feels like a comedic misfire.
Pandering to the American crowd with a bunch of "Americans do things this way, but the Irish are like this" observations, most of it about as funny as getting smacked in the face by a shillelagh, Tiernan riffs on what he thinks we think about the Irish, relying on stereotype humor about alcohol, laziness, and religion. This might have worked if he'd delivered his set in a normal fashion instead of overselling every joke by jumping around, roaring like a maniac. He strains so hard to succeed he comes off like the loud grizzled cousin of Lucky the Leprechaun.
The 69 minute special is roughly divided into two halves, the first consisting of all those Irish vs. America jokes and the second, a series of stories about his life. Tiernan's conversational humor works better than the earlier riffs, especially the bits about his kids, because he settles down and lets the material speak for itself. Once Tiernan stops trying to convince us how mad and funny he is, you can actually start to appreciate that fact for yourself.
Tiernan has a talent for accents and sound effects and includes as many variations as he can at the highest possible volume, a style ill-suited to a 5.1 Dolby Digital track. In fact, this is the first DVD where I've had to turn off the speaker system to better enjoy a movie. A widescreen anamorphic picture is also nice but unnecessary for what is the now-standard comedy special format of wide shot/head shot/audience reaction. Included as extras are "Walk in the Windy City," with Tiernan providing wryly funny commentary over footage of him exploring Chicago, an interview in which he turns answers to even the simplest questions into James Joyce's Ulysses (some of it just as pretentious), and a 10-minute set of religious-themed jokes cut from the show.
If you feel like taxing your eardrums rather than your funny bone, by all means give Something Mental a shot; otherwise, wait for Tiernan's UK DVDs to surface stateside. Tiernan's adopted Lewis Black-style persona doesn't suit the material and turns decent jokes into ear-bleeding annoyances. As it is, there more laughs per hour in a Sci-Fi Channel original movie, and those guys aren't even trying.
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