Heckler is interesting for a couple reasons, if nothing else. Why the Academy chose not to give it its highest honor is beyond me.
The HD video film mainly focuses on the personal struggles of protagonist Jamie Kennedy, whom I recall most fondly from Bowfinger, perhaps his best work, but I eagerly await seeing him as Mark Freeze in Tyler Perry's Spring 2012 project Good Deeds. He confronts several of his critics, internet-based and otherwise. I hate to kick a guy when he's down, but Gabe and Asher rocked! As they themselves said, they're just trying to help you, Jamie. The internet critics range from the one dude who said he had a 104 degree temperature when he saw the one movie, to one really obnoxious guy working for something called "Giant" online magazine. I'm hoping he was just doing that for the camera. You know, kinda like Snooki. Would she be so slutty if the camera weren't on her? I'm just jealous, of course, of those who spend their youth well.
In general, I found that the celebrities in Heckler I personally admire the most tended to have the more mature attitudes about hecklers, especially George Wallace who notes that no matter what happens, he gets the check at the end of the night. What's interesting about this is that we get a chance to critique some comedians' heckler responses. Jamie himself arguably gets a good one when he turns the tables on a heckler during a performance. I'll side with Jamie on this one, as the kid only had jokes about teachers... on the other hand, he did seem to have the comic's focus. Jamie could learn a thing or two about attitude from that kid. I thought Jamie was an actor, anyway! What's he doing dabbling in stand-up? Arguably, what they showed of Brian Holtzman makes Kennedy's stuff look good in comparison. Tarnished director Joel Schumacher complained about criticisms of Batman Forever. Apparently he's given up defending Batman & Robin. I liked Falling Down, for what that's worth! I used to like the script...
This thing was entertaining enough, but somehow it feels lacking. Sure, time is spent on the decline of criticism since the passing of Pauline Kael. Frankly, I think the rise of cell phone usage is a much greater threat than heckling. People are so into themselves these days. The talent tide has risen a little bit, stranding more boats. Go figure. But Jamie's doing all right for himself, having found a sympathetic ally in Seth McFarlane's The Cleveland Show, and in his off time he hangs out at the video store asking people why they just walked on by Son of the Mask. That, or why they made that weird noise when they did.
The documentary steps bravely into uncertain territory with Sean Young, who heckled Julian Schnabel at an event... my God! An existential crisis! What happens when a celebrity becomes the heckler? Jamie doesn't get a chance to explore that too much, as it takes time away from him, but perhaps Sean and Jamie aren't so different after all. What we are seeing now, or perhaps what has always been, is a rise of the Hollywood middle class, a greater number of once shining stars now filling out the suburbs, just trying to get by in painful anonymity on Spanish TV royalty payments. It just hasn't been documented as well before... which reminds me. Isn't Jamie a little bit hypocritical? After all, what are stand-up comedians but critics of society and its many, many flaws? He asks his manager at one point about the material he's not allowed to do at a Catholic school gig. At one point he asks the manager "Can I call Ashton (Kutcher?) a f***ot?" HECKLER!!!
Oh, and the documentary proves what I already suspected: Uwe Boll's a better boxer than filmmaker. I will say nothing when they come to take him away.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan