Red Diaper Baby

"Very Good"

Red Diaper Baby Review


Spalding Gray is no longer with us, which means that, for all intents and purposes, the American monologue is now dead.

While no one will fill Gray's shoes -- and I'm especially talking to you poetry slam people out there -- a small cadre of up-and-comers are taking aim at his craft with their own quirky one-man rants.

San Franciscan Josh Kornbluth (best known for his indie flick Haiku Tunnel) is one of those upstarts, a rotund, sweaty, balding, and awkward fellow with a Woody Allen sensibility toward life and love. Born and raised in New York, Kornbluth spends the 90 minutes of Red Diaper Baby riffing on his upbringing from Communist parents. His mother and father separated when he was six months old, leaving Kornbluth to ping pong between his demure mother and his haughty, semi-insane father. Both are Communists, and this obviously has a debilitating effect on a childhood in Manhattan, and Kornbluth, as he enters his teen years, shifts from Commie talk to thoughts of love, namely an obsession -- later consummated -- with one of his mother's friends.

Director Doug Pray (best known for his 1996 grunge documentary Hype! and also for his DJ interviews in Scratch) does a fair job that is unfortunately too obtrusive, as he's awfully fond of the zoom control on his camera. Some editing choices are on the poor side -- there are obvious sections of the monologue chopped out, leaving rough transitions from one topic to the next. This really isn't Pray's show, though, and he (hopefully) knows it.

Kornbluth is genuinely funny and some of his stories make you laugh out loud, even if there is way too much screaming for a one-man show. Bring it down a notch, Josh, and let the events speak for themselves a little better. Ultimately, though, Kornbluth makes you interested and keeps you attentive for the full film, a tricky feat given that nominally we couldn't care less about his upbringing.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 91 mins

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Contactmusic


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