A largely unsatisfying collection of mostly comedic odds and ends, NewsFakers/Filmmakers comprises nine short films directed by writers from The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. Most obviously kindred in spirit is the TV news parody “Deadline: Now,” made in the mid ’90s as a pilot for Fox, although the end result feels more like an awkwardly extended Saturday Night Live sketch than a rough draft for The Daily Show. “Deadline: Now” is one of several selections that seem to be stretching even at their brief lengths (five to 15 minutes). The best of the bunch is Scott Jacobson’s dead-on PBS parody “Partners in Blues,” which posits an alternative musical relationship between a veteran bluesman and a guitar named Todd. There’s also “Surviving Geddes,” a send-up of child star survivor stories, and “Zombie American,” which benefits from the presence of Ed Helms as a genial member of the walking dead less interested in eating human flesh than in shooting some hoops and meeting a nice girl. And “Pie Chi” answers the question of what Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog might have looked like had its protagonist been a vegan pastry chef.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 20, 2005

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