Punching the Clown
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A modern-day troubadour learns the whimsical rules of the record industry after moving out to Los Angeles and becoming the subject of a vicious rumor. Henry Phillips travels through the heartland singing his satirical folk songs to anyone willing to give him the time of day. In the wake of a booking mishap involving a Christian fundraiser, however, Henry decides that it's high time he moves to a place where people can appreciate his twisted sense of humor. A few days later, Henry is crashing his brother's couch in L.A. But while his brother can't get an acting gig to save his life,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The comic folksinger Henry Phillips stars in this wry, poignant, smartly satirical comedy as himself, and puts himself into uneasy situations in which he doesn't always come out as the hero."
‑ Richard Brody, New Yorker
"[If it] isn't entirely successful, it's partly because the music -- late-night satire swathed in gentle folkie chords -- and Mr. Phillips's modest but knowing manner don't quite match up with the "Star Is Born" clichés of the plot."
‑ Mike Hale, New York Times
"A quiet jewel of smart, unexpected laughs...as old vaudevillians would say, "It's funny because it's true.""
‑ Frank Lovece, Film Journal International
"The film is an amiable, self-mocking satire about L.A.'s vacuous showbiz types."
‑ Robert Levin, amNewYork
"Boasting a fabulously flamboyant script by co-conspirator serial loon Phillips and director Viens and salacious serenading rudely dissing the FCC's naughty word police, this is no-budget hardcore standup comic cinema at its most irreverently outrageous."
‑ Prairie Miller, NewsBlaze
"Every aspiring performer will appreciate Gregori Viens' unassuming comedy, which cheerfully skewers industry pretensions and media-fueled trends."
‑ Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
"Punching the Clown is welcome proof that there remains at least one industry in which the US can compete with New Zealand: the parody folk-song business."
‑ Kyle Smith, New York Post
"Punching the Clown can be too cute, but it's a quietly sad portrait of just barely getting by."
‑ Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine
"In the spirit of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Flight of the Conchords" but much funnier."
‑ Louis Proyect, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"Familiar show-business satire is enlivened by genuinely witty, off-kilter humor."
‑ Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
"A partly biographical, drolly fabricated comedy."
‑ Aaron Hillis, Village Voice
"The result is a shaggy rise-and-fall story that is deceptively well-wrought, playing at times like an extremely hip, deep-access concert film."
‑ Michelle Orange, Movieline
"The fickleness and absurdity of life in L.A.'s entertainment industry has been skewered more effectively in a number of other movies."
‑ Ethan Alter, NYC Film Critic
More reviews for Punching the Clown on Rotten Tomatoes