Friday, March 25, 2005

The Complete Denis Leary (2004)

Single disc, about 150 minutes

Seems fitting that after I roid rage over “Brokedown Palace” I decide to fuel the fire with Denis Leary. I caught “No Cure for Cancer” on Comedy Central one Christmas a while back and absolutely loved it. It took me a while to act on the recommendation for this product...I know now I could’ve waited a bit longer.

I balked at the title of course because it’s a slim single disc. It contains two specials, “No Cure for Cancer” and “Lock n’ Load.” His springboard to stardom was “No Cure” in the early 90s, with the accompanying album and single, “Asshole” also gaining attention. The special opens with a live performance of the song, followed by just a blast of Leary for what seems like moments once you get lost in the laughter. It is absolutely golden material and is really funny even the fourth and fifth times through it. I have no breakdown on the show for you, but suffice to say it’s very, very good.

The second special should be good, I think. I only caught bits on Comedy Central recently, and it didn’t look bad. Man, was I wrong. The show is dated and pedestrian. “Lord of the Dance,” Marv know you’re in the wrong time period when sandwiching www and .com around swear words is topical and funny.

“Lock and Load” is a quarter topical and a quarter “classic Leary” where he goes on new, and still funny rants about different things that are bothering him. The remaining half seems like an eternity. It’s all about Denis’ kids. It’s not bad. It’s decent material, but it’s so out-of-character for Denis, especially when it is tacked on in a very disjointed matter to a bit about flavored beer. The special ends with some bizarre class in editing, with Denis ranting and religious images abound.

Now the packaging refers to “loads of DVD extras” including the “Asshole” video, a making of special for “No Cure” and a video for “Love Barge.” Whatever that is. I watched it and was thoroughly confused. Anyway, the video to “Asshole” is shot in the same style as Denis’ rants on MTV during the zenith of “No Cure.” It’s funny.

The making of special combines home video footage and new interviews to explain how it all went down. Denis was essentially trapped in Europe when his wife had a baby, so he had nothing to do but write. The show was toured around there, then came over to the states and was a hit. A pretty good vibe gets goin’ here, until they suddenly come up on Denis and his cohorts – “is that it?” Eight and a half minutes. No talk about how the special did on TV, his resulting stardom, nothing.

And the “loads of DVD extras” that included these three things…are just these three things. I’m not an extras guy by any means, but this was just a low blow.

“No Cure for Cancer” is well worth the $16. The extras are icing on the cake...”Lock n’Load” is a blast of shit filling. What’s with all the cake talk in my reviews now? Jeez. The score is representative of the disc as a whole. “No Cure” gets a solid 5 out of 5 from me, but the whole thing?


Three stars. If you like Leary, or didn’t get to see his breakout special, pick it up.

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