March 20, 2006

Andy Dick wins laughs with reality-based feature

By John DeFore

AUSTIN, Texas (Hollywood Reporter) - Andy Dick is an actor
famous for two things: portraying a hopeless klutz on
television and getting into trouble with booze and drugs.

In "Danny Roane: First Time Director," he plays an actor
known for boob-tube bumbling and offscreen binges, who decides
to make a film about his life.

So maybe it's not a stretch. Dick has been working this
angle for a while, milking his reputation in interviews and on
his own MTV show. But if a little of his id-indulgence can go a
long way, here it is reined in; "Danny Roane" is a sometimes
hilarious mock-documentary that will play well with the actor's
fans and could win some converts.

In the film, Dick's alter ego has stayed sober for four
years and watched his career go pretty dry as well. He
persuades a huckster producer to fund his autobiographical
film, "a psychologically probing dark journey into addiction,"
though it appears that the producer thinks he's making another
film entirely. That's just as well because Danny quickly scares
away everyone on his crew with any actual experience in

Danny does manage to recruit some industry names for his
cast: James Van Der Beek ("The Rules of Attraction") plays the
lead and proves game for all sorts of indignity. Later, after
Danny falls off the wagon and re-imagines his film (midshoot)
as a musical, Van Der Beek is replaced by Anthony Rapp, fresh
from "Rent."

Danny's production runs into the expected self-inflicted
disasters even before the filmmaker's return to the bottle. But
it really spins out of control as a musical, and we see a few
of the numbers in their full postproduction glory, adorned with
over-the-top costumes and psychedelically amateurish computer

The film-within-a-film is a shoestring effort, and "Danny
Roane" mirrors it, shooting on video with an uncertain, often
handheld camera. The production values are appropriate, though
songs on the soundtrack are conspicuously low-rent.

Dick wrangles appearances from a familiar array of cohorts.
Bob Odenkirk, Dick's co-star on "The Ben Stiller Show," is
solidly weird as the film producer, and Stiller pops his head
in as well. Jack Black and "NewsRadio" co-star Maura Tierney
have a scene each.

The movie thins out a bit in the second half as the action
gets more kooky and scatological. By the time Roane's film has
its disastrous premiere at an obscure festival, the endlessly
self-referential conceit feels like it's devouring itself. Only
in the last shot does Dick's character acknowledge that his
problems might not be quite as funny as he thinks. That's true,
but it's better than a lot of what passes for comedy on the big


Danny Roane: Andy Dick

Pete Kesselmen: Bob Odenkirk

Deidra Fennigan: Mo Collins

Himself: Ben Stiller

Paul Gunderson: Paul Henderson

John Imbagliado: Michael Hitchcock

K.C.: Kevin Farley

Himself: James Van Der Beek

Himself: Anthony Rapp

Herself: Maura Tierney

Himself: Jack Black

Hector: Danny Trejo

Charlotte Lewis: Sara Rue

Director/screenwriter/executive producer: Andy Dick;
Producers: Marshall Cook, Chris Romano; Director of
photography: Ben Gamble; Production designer: Andrew Deppen;
Music: Jason Miller; Costumes: Nicole Beckett; Editor: John M.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter