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With: Josh Kornbluth
Written by: Josh Kornbluth
Directed by: Doug Pray
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 91
Date: 10/15/2004

Red Diaper Baby (2004)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Commie Dearest

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Monologist Josh Kornbluth appears on the silver screen for the second time, performing his first published monologue, Red Diaper Baby. Unlike his debut filmic outing, the cleverly adapted and unjustly neglected Haiku Tunnel (2001), Red Diaper Baby is a much simpler performed monologue that never leaves the stage. As with his mentor Spalding Gray's monologue films, Kornbluth and director Doug Pray (Scratch) fill in the cinematic blanks with moody lighting cues and well-timed close-ups. When Kornbluth describes his first sexual encounter with an older woman, he describes her stroking his head and the camera moves in so that Josh's disembodied arm does the stroking from off-screen. Red Diaper Baby runs the gamut from Kornbluth's childhood, his Communist parents -- Kornbluth's father wanted him to lead the revolution and pounded the idea into his head at birth with Communist fight songs -- his first trip to the USSR, his first love and his first sexual encounter. Kornbluth has a natural charisma and intelligence that eases effortlessly onto the screen; he could be a huge comic movie star. Yet, Red Diaper Baby is a beginner's monologue and doesn't have the sophistication or focus of Kornbluth's later works Haiku Tunnel and Ben Franklin: Unplugged, but it's still very funny and quietly effective. San Francisco theater legend David Dower co-produced.

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