Review: ‘Pittsburgh’

Kyle LaBrache and Chris Bradley's "Pittsburgh" walks a vanishing line between fiction and docu to show Jeff Goldblum in a regional theater production of "The Music Man." A treat for Goldblum fans and Christopher Guest-type mockumentary aficionados, pic targets an indie audience.

Kyle LaBrache and Chris Bradley’s “Pittsburgh” walks a vanishing line between fiction and docu to show Jeff Goldblum in a regional theater production of “The Music Man,” accompanied by roped-in friends Ed Begley and Ileana Douglas. Goldblum prances through humiliating auditions and a grueling rehearsal schedule, while phone calls from his panicked agent measure his plummeting stock back in Hollywood. A treat for Goldblum fans and Christopher Guest-type mockumentary aficionados, pic targets an indie audience.

The production of “Music Man” in Goldblum’s hometown of Pittsburgh actually took place. Whether pompous stage director Richard Sabellico was as brutal in his assessment of Goldblum’s interpretation or as fixated on stripping away the neurotic niceties of his star’s personality is anybody’s guess. Certainly no one can deny that Goldblum’s elfin portrayal hardly reps self-assured con man Professor Harold Hill as originally written. Pic’s most surreal absurdity comes unscripted at a party thrown by Goldblum’s mother and stepfather to pitch a product, where Jeff’s presence provides an obvious sales incentive. Public breakup between Ileana Douglas and eclectic rocker Moby (here playing an admirer of Goldblum) is suitably mortifying. LaBrache and Bradley’s fly-on-the-wall approach works well.

Pittsburgh

Production

A Roar presentation in association with Prosperity Pictures of a Striking Features/Industry Entertainment/Intl. Orange production. Produced by Bernie Cahill, Patrick Bradley, Ryan Magnussen, Jeff Goldblum. Executive producers, Greg Roman, Keith Addis. Directed by Chris Bradley, Kyle LaBrache.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Bradley, LaBrache; editors, Bradley, LaBrache, Michael Palmerio; music, David G. Byrne;. Reviewed at Tribeca Film Festival (Spotlight), April 30, 2006. Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Jeff Goldblum, Ed Begley Jr., Illeana Douglas, Moby, Catherine Wreford, Richard Sabellico.
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