You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Exporting Raymond

"Exporting Raymond" chronicles the bumpy road by which long-running U.S. sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond" launched its Russian edition.

With:
With: Phil Rosenthal, Max Rosenthal, Helen Rosenthal, Eldar Djafarov Arif-Ogli, Elena Stodubtseva, Marina Naumova, Artem Logilov, Sasha Tsyrlin, Jeff Lerner. (English, Russian dialogue)

Exporting Raymond” chronicles the bumpy road by which long-running U.S. sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” launched its Russian edition — now a huge hit in its own right. Docu’s real agenda, however, seems to be in providing “Raymond” creator-writer-executive producer (and this pic’s director) Phil Rosenthal his own reality-sitcom star vehicle, playing the hapless protagonist amid what feel like editorially rigged culture-clash laffs. Goldwyn plans to give the mildly amusing results a limited theatrical release this spring, but they’ll be more at home on the smallscreen, where the pic could benefit from trimming to hourlong broadcast slots.

Rosenthal introduces us to his quarrelsome parents, the source of some of the “Raymond” family dynamics, before he and Sony execs head off to Moscow to prepare a pilot, with the knowledge that shows like “Married … With Children” and “The Nanny” have already succeeded in Russian revamps.

However, “Raymond’s” path isn’t an easy one. Hiccups include finding the perfect local Ray Romano equivalent, only to have his hiring blocked by the prestigious Moscow Art Theater, for whom he’s a valuable ensemble member; an imperious costume designer who insists on glamming up a show whose original appeal was strictly casual-wear; executives’ flat refusal to shoot before live audiences; and a sudden, forced six-month hiatus before the still-fledgling project can proceed further.

Pic applies a retro Cold War tenor to the perceived perils encountered abroad, though that perception is so heavily doctored by editing, musical choices and Rosenthal’s eternally incredulous reaction shots that the docu often feels like a mockumentary.

We’re meant to share the protag’s horror that his new collaborators don’t grasp the universal qualities of his sitcom original. But what he himself can’t or won’t grasp (until cursory acknowledgment at film’s end) is that few things are more culturally specific than humor, and that some ideas, jokes and tonal approaches that worked at home must change considerably to translate for Russians.

Eventually Rosenthal is perceived as a process-hindering pest. Still, as director, he never tires of indulging Rosenthal the personality his expressions of comic exasperation, with which we are assumed to empathize. Attempts to show him connecting with a few non-showbiz Russians — his ex-military chauffeur, a family that invites him to dinner — feel forced, though the latter episode provides the pic’s best sequence, as an awkward Skype conversation between older Moscovites and his parents reveal how closely the senior New Yorkers resemble the sitcom combatants they inspired.

Packaging is pro, though many aspects underline “Exporting’s” tendency to reach for laughs through contrivance rather than authenticity — exactly the opposite of what Rosenthal purports his comedic philosophy to be.

Exporting Raymond

Production: A Samuel Goldwyn Films release of a Where's Lunch Prods. presentation. Produced by Phil Rosenthal, Jim Czarnecki, John Woldenburg. Executive producer, Woldenburg. Directed, written by Phil Rosenthal.

Crew: Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Geoffrey O'Connor; editors, Brian Singbiel, David Zieff; music, Rick Marotta; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/DTS), Francisco LaTorre, Al Decker, Michael Bard; sound designers, Decker, Bard. Reviewed at Palm Springs Festival (True Stories), Jan. 14, 2011. (Also in Austin, Santa Barbara film festivals.) Running time: 86 MIN.

Cast: With: Phil Rosenthal, Max Rosenthal, Helen Rosenthal, Eldar Djafarov Arif-Ogli, Elena Stodubtseva, Marina Naumova, Artem Logilov, Sasha Tsyrlin, Jeff Lerner. (English, Russian dialogue)

More Scene

  • 'Cobra Kai' premiere

    ‘Cobra Kai’: Why Ralph Macchio Revisited 'Karate Kid' Character After 30 Years

    “Exporting Raymond” chronicles the bumpy road by which long-running U.S. sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” launched its Russian edition — now a huge hit in its own right. Docu’s real agenda, however, seems to be in providing “Raymond” creator-writer-executive producer (and this pic’s director) Phil Rosenthal his own reality-sitcom star vehicle, playing the hapless protagonist amid […]

  • Jennifer LopezTime 100 Gala - Red

    Time 100 Gala: J. Lo 'Feels Naked,' Shawn Mendes Performs, Kesha Hugs Parkland Survivors

    “Exporting Raymond” chronicles the bumpy road by which long-running U.S. sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” launched its Russian edition — now a huge hit in its own right. Docu’s real agenda, however, seems to be in providing “Raymond” creator-writer-executive producer (and this pic’s director) Phil Rosenthal his own reality-sitcom star vehicle, playing the hapless protagonist amid […]

  • Robert Downey Jr'Avengers: Infinity War' film

    'Avengers: Infinity War' Premiere Draws Largest Contingent of Marvel Superheroes

    “Exporting Raymond” chronicles the bumpy road by which long-running U.S. sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” launched its Russian edition — now a huge hit in its own right. Docu’s real agenda, however, seems to be in providing “Raymond” creator-writer-executive producer (and this pic’s director) Phil Rosenthal his own reality-sitcom star vehicle, playing the hapless protagonist amid […]

  • 'The Week Of' film premiere

    'The Week Of' Director Talks Reuniting With Adam Sandler After 'SNL'

    “Exporting Raymond” chronicles the bumpy road by which long-running U.S. sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” launched its Russian edition — now a huge hit in its own right. Docu’s real agenda, however, seems to be in providing “Raymond” creator-writer-executive producer (and this pic’s director) Phil Rosenthal his own reality-sitcom star vehicle, playing the hapless protagonist amid […]

  • Beautycon Festival

    Laverne Cox, Paris Hilton Promote Self-Love at Beautycon NYC

    “Exporting Raymond” chronicles the bumpy road by which long-running U.S. sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” launched its Russian edition — now a huge hit in its own right. Docu’s real agenda, however, seems to be in providing “Raymond” creator-writer-executive producer (and this pic’s director) Phil Rosenthal his own reality-sitcom star vehicle, playing the hapless protagonist amid […]

  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

    The Duchess of Cambridge Gives Birth to Baby Boy

    “Exporting Raymond” chronicles the bumpy road by which long-running U.S. sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” launched its Russian edition — now a huge hit in its own right. Docu’s real agenda, however, seems to be in providing “Raymond” creator-writer-executive producer (and this pic’s director) Phil Rosenthal his own reality-sitcom star vehicle, playing the hapless protagonist amid […]

  • J.K. Rowling on the Future of

    J.K. Rowling on the Future of Harry Potter Stories on Stage

    “Exporting Raymond” chronicles the bumpy road by which long-running U.S. sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” launched its Russian edition — now a huge hit in its own right. Docu’s real agenda, however, seems to be in providing “Raymond” creator-writer-executive producer (and this pic’s director) Phil Rosenthal his own reality-sitcom star vehicle, playing the hapless protagonist amid […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content