Not Nearly Enough Playtime for Jonathan Winters in the Wildly Uneven Certifiably Jonathan
An uncanny mimic and quick-change improviser, Jonathan Winters is one of those great performers who sweep you along in a flow of natural lunacy, whether by diving into his characters or dropping understated asides. The big-kid-bulky Dayton-born comedian gets some welcome playtime in Jim Pasternaks patchwork tribute, but not nearly enough. Billed as a comedy/mockumentary, it assembles improvisations and bits staged with famous fans into a yarn about Winterss attempts to get his paintings into the Museum of Modern Art. The result is (like much such improv) wildly uneven, reliant on flashes of Winters weirdness and the novelty of seeing Jim Carrey dumbstruck, or the Arquette clan engaged in a mock séance and pep talk. (Theyre convened when our hero loses his sense of humor, so vital to his Mirò-with-a-punchline paintingwhich gives an idea of the plotting.) Howie Mandel holds his own, crammed in a cart for a supermarket ramble, and theres a kick to hearing Winters casually mention his friend Robin Williamss thefts from his routines. But you might be better off marathon-watching Winterswhose monologue style is already filmic in its quick cuts among bitsplaying fanciful raconteur on Johnny Carson.
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