A DOCUMENTARY: AN AMERICAN STORY Image

“A Documentary” uses comedians and a couple (Terri and Rick Echternacht) to examine what makes life fulfilling. The comedians, one of whom is the extremely funny Kate Bradshaw, have their own take on the subject, while Rick Echternacht’s view is tempered by the fact that he has a brain tumor. And therein lies the flaw.
If this movie would’ve concentrated on one group or the other, it would’ve been a far better picture. The only thing the comedians and the Echternachts have in common is the fact that the couple wanted to see a comedy show before Rick passed away, and the comedians interviewed are the ones who performed there. Joining these two groups of people together, in order to investigate what makes life worth living, gives audiences a very skewed view of things.
On one hand, the comedians make some great points about doing what one loves and so on. But when Rick is shown in his wheelchair, the comedians seem a little less important and much more self-indulgent. The problem is that this doesn’t seem to be the message that filmmaker Richard May wants to put across.
If May reworks this movie into two separate features, then it may work. As it stands now, though, “A Documentary” is sabotaged by its own aspirations.

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