In writer-director Omar Dzlieri’s MICerz, a group of stand-up comedians bands together to save their local comedy club. Arnold (Austin Torelli) lives in a van outside of a comedy club named the Bomb Shelter (an appropriate name for this). Dave (Joe Manente), the owner of the club, has made a deal with Arnold that if he does some work on the building, he can keep his van in the parking lot.
While working on the building, Arnold befriends not only the owner but some house comedians. Arnold’s new friends, including Dante (Dante Chang), Devontae (Christopher Donnellon), and Nelly (Kaylah Pantaleón), talk him into trying stand-up as a way to earn some cash to help his living circumstances. As Arnold gets used to his new situation, Dave runs into a problem and can potentially lose the Bomb Shelter for good. Now, these comics try everything they can to save their beloved spot.
The one big thing that keeps MICerz from being a good film is that it focuses too much on trying to be funny. What I mean by that is that 90 percent of the humor seems forced, and it is just unfunny. I get that it’s a film about stand-up comedians, but since that’s the case, the stand-up should actually be funny. Instead, half of the comedy is the comedians attempting to roast each other any chance they get, which gets old quickly.
“…comics try everything they can to save their beloved spot.”
The other half is just bad stand-up. Dave is constantly running on eleven as if he hopped up on some drug. He constantly screams on the mic, which is something that has not been funny since Sam Kinison made it unique. I do admit that I chuckled at a couple of things, but, wow, did this movie drag. I found myself wondering how much time was left rather than laughing. A runtime of nearly two hours is way too long for this kind of film.
A story of a person coming from nothing and having nothing to lose, trying to make something of themselves, is very common, so it may be relatable. With that being said, Arnold is not a person who is easy to root for. Let’s go back to my gripe with MICerz not being funny. Watching Arnold bomb over and over just made me want to give up on him and, ultimately, the film itself. Even when the film depicts Arnold doing well, it is not convincing to anyone watching with a decent sense of humor.
But the film does have a bright spot, and that is Pantaleón as the only female comedian of the group. That angle alone could have made more of an interesting story compared to Arnold’s arc or the rest of the characters. I feel that Pantaleón could have been utilized more as the production would have greatly benefited from more of her.
MICerz has a relatable core story. But that alone is not enough to give this film legs to stand on. There’s a term in stand-up comedy called “running the light,” which references when a comedian goes over their given time. Filmmaker Dzlieri ran the light within the first half-hour.
"…[Pantaleón is] a bright spot..."