Combustible Celluloid
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With: Adam Carolla, Diane Farr, Jay Mohr, Cynthy Wu, David Koechner, David Alan Grier, Philip Rosenthal, Larry Miller, Illeana Douglas, Dana Gould, Howie Mandel
Written by: Adam Carolla, Kevin Hench
Directed by: Adam Carolla, Kevin Hench
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 98
Date: 03/06/2015

Road Hard (2015)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Stage Spite

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

With help from co-writer and co-director Kevin Hench, comedian Adam Carolla clearly created Road Hard based on his own trials and tribulations in show business. This insider information, and the emotions connected to it, make the world seem genuine, even as the ridiculous and annoying parts of it spur on Carolla's aggressive, acid humor.

Comedian Bruce Madsen (Carolla) once had a successful TV series, "The Bro Show," but now his co-star (Jay Mohr) has gone on to enormous fame on a talk show while his career has stalled. He has gone back to the road, performing in small comedy clubs to pay his alimony and for his daughter's college tuition. His agent, "Baby Doll" (Larry Miller) occasionally gets him some demeaning work (hosting a reality show for Howie Mandel), but it all looks hopeless. Everything changes when he meets Sarah (Diane Farr) at a show, and realizes that settling down in a small town might be just what he needs. But can he let go of show biz?

In this movie, no moment of absurd behavior is allowed to pass by without comment. Yet, the character is very often unsympathetic; he loudly and frequently complains about his fate, which isn't all that bad (a character points out that he still earns in one night what it will take office workers four months to make), and he routinely fails to take steps to improve his lot. In the similar movies Sleepwalk with Me and Obvious Child, their comedian creators seemed to have something to say, but Carolla disappointingly wraps things up with a rather conventional romantic happy ending. Still, it has enough spiky moments to make it worth a watch.

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