American Splendor

starring Paul Giamatti, Judah Friedlander, Hope Davis

HBO Films / Fine Line

directed by Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini

the central problem with american splendor is its not very funny. its also disjointed and directionless. it also tries to do weird little tricks for no good reason.

once it works.

american splendor is a story about a bitter cleveland underground comic book writer named harvey pekar who made several interesting appearances on the david letterman show in the 80s.

for some reason the co-directors found it necessary to include the real-life pekar into the film along with the actor, paul giamatti, who is portraying him.

in one scene the real life co-worker of Pekar, Toby Radloff, is seen talking to the real life Pekar as the actors portraying the pair watch in the background.

i take it back, it didnt work, it sorta worked.

we want to root for pekar. he has a good story to tell. it’s interesting.

his relationship with underground comic book star and illustrator of some of pekar’s comics, r. crumb, isnt nearly as interesting as his relationship with his co-worker, radloff

its a nice suprise in the movie.

its not a bad film, its just in no way a 2003 top ten film.

why it was R-rated is beyond me.

Giamatti, who played Pig Vomit in the Howard Stern movie, Private Parts, is more than believeable in this film.

At times he is preferred.

in the Greg Vaine movie rating scale, i give American Splendor a Good-Good

e-nerve + superheros bleed + greg vaine

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