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DID YOU READ

Disc Covering: “Adopted,” With Your Buuuuuuddy, Pauly Shore

Disc Covering: “Adopted,” With Your Buuuuuuddy, Pauly Shore  (photo)

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Straight-to-DVD is known as the last stop on the gravy train before the end of a fading star’s career. And there’s definitely some truth to that. But it can also be a low-risk, high-reward place to restart a career, where you can throw away the stuff that hasn’t been working and trying something new. Budgets and stakes may be lower, but so are expectations.

The DTV landscape is full of untapped opportunities and I give Pauly Shore credit for being one of the first guys I’ve come across in this column who’s clearly taking advantage of that. Completely dismissed by critics (Roger Ebert once compared him to “the cinematic equivalent of long fingernails drawn very slowly and quite loudly over a gigantic blackboard”), reduced to a punchline in the mainstream, the former MTV DJ and movie star has reinvented himself in straight-to-DVD land as “Pauly Shore,” the star of self-deprecating autobiographical mockumentaries like 2003’s “Pauly Shore is Dead” and his new film “Adopted.” As writer and director as well as star, “Adopted” is, more than anything he made in his ’90s heyday, a “Pauly Shore Movie.”

But is that a good thing?

“Adopted”
Directed by Pauly Shore

Tagline: “First there was ANGELINA, then MADONNA, and NOW PAULY!”

07272010_disccovering1.jpgTweetable Plot Synopsis: In order to make fun of celebrities, African stereotypes, and himself, Pauly Shore travels to South Africa and tries to adopt a baby.

Salable Elements: Here’s what “Adopted”‘s DVD distributor, Phase 4 Films, lists as “Adopted”‘s “selling points” on the film’s factsheet:

“-Pauly Shore is a well known comedic brand with regular appearances on North American talk shows.

-Over $140 Million in box office hits (“Encino Man,” “Son In Law,” “Jury Duty,” “Bio-Dome,” “In The Army Now,” “Pauly Shore Is Dead”).

-Pauly is a regular on the comedy circuit, currently on a North American comedy tour (running through Summer 2010), and his comedy show Pauly Shore and Friends is currently airing on Showtime.”

Press materials for “Adopted” also boast that the film is “in the style of ‘Waiting For Guffman’ and ‘Borat.'” Which is true. But being in the style of something is not the same as it being as good as something. “Plan 9 From Outer Space” is in the style of “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” That doesn’t make it any better.

07272010_disccovering2.jpgBiggest Success: Though Shore himself has very little commitment to the reality of the world he’s pretending to document — the explanation he provides as to why he wants to adopt a kid is flimsier than a wet tissue — the South African actors he cast are terrific and totally believable. Shore is the only non-local in the bunch and his untrained co-stars, especially Odwa Mpambaniso as a charmingly outgoing orphan and the uncredited social worker who plays Allan, are far more believable in their roles than Shore is in his. And he’s playing Pauly Shore.

Biggest Failure: Again, give Shore credit: he shot this film on location in South Africa, and in doing so he did manage to capture a bit of the region’s flavor. Granted, you’ve got to go looking for it in establishing shots and brief unscripted moments between Pauly’s schtick, but it’s there. If he eased up on the material a little and really took an interest in this place, he might have had something truly worth watching. But mostly Shore’s just using the mockumentary format as a means to deliver a barrage of tasteless jokes. Truly satisfying mockumentaries have a few components that “Adopted” is missing: most importantly, they’re easily mistakable for real life. Even with the impressively authentic locations, does anyone really believe Pauly Shore is going to adopt an African orphan? No.

07272010_disccovering3.jpgAfter 75 minutes of crass humor, the film ends with an Aldous Snow-esque message from Shore that reads “Even though I made fun of adoption, underneath it all, it’s no laughing matter. In Africa there are 34 million orphans,” (I’m telling you: try it in a Russell Brand accent. It’s a dead ringer). Shore’s commitment to educating audiences about the truth behind his satire is laudable. But a gifted filmmaker would have incorporated that truth into the body of his film. Shore’s got a decent idea and a unique setting but he’s lacking the intellectual curiosity of those films “Adopted” is “in the style of.” Adopted” really is a Paul Shore movie: an incredibly uneven, dumb, and, yes, occasionally humorously dumb comedy.

Best Moment: As you might expect from a guy who made a film entitled “Pauly Shore is Dead,” Shore’s greatest strength remains his ability to make fun of himself. Shore is repeatedly encountering — and getting rebuffed by — a series of attractive South African women. After one particularly disastrous romantic encounter, Shore moans “If we were back in the States this would not be happening. Don’t these girls know who I used to be?”

I Question: that an orphanage would allow someone to “test drive” their children.

Worthy of a Theatrical Release? No, but this isn’t the worst way to spend 75 minutes. I’ll cop to laughing at least a couple times. The film is currently available on Netflix Watch Instantly, so if you’re curious, that’s the way to go.

For Further Viewing: watch this YouTube clip, which requires no additional setup beyond its title: “Pauly Shore Drunk on Morning Show.”

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…