×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘The Fluffy Movie’

The popular Mexican-American comic should please fans and win a few new ones in his first feature-length concert pic.

With:
Gabriel Iglesias, Jacqueline Obradors, Gina Brillon, Alfred Robles, Armando C. Cosio, Rick Gutierrez, Piolin, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Ron White, William Johnson, Tommy Chong, Julio Cesar Chavez, Martin Moreno. (English, Spanish dialogue)

Even after the 100-pound weight loss that provides much of the fodder for his first theatrical concert film, Mexican-American comedian Gabriel Iglesias cuts the contented, spherical figure of a well-fed house cat — one possible interpretation of his nickname, Fluffy. But Iglesias (who played the club DJ in “Magic Mike”) is the one who has the audience eating out of his hand for most of “The Fluffy Movie,” an enjoyable if never electrifying record of his Unity Through Laughter standup tour. One of the rare concert films to earn a full-scale cinema release in the VOD era, the Open Road release will test whether Fluffy’s formidable fan base (including 6 million Facebook followers) can translate into box office numbers anywhere near those of Kevin Hart (whose two recent concert pics grossed a combined $40 million). Those who do turn out will surely be pleased, as will a few Fluffy virgins (like this reviewer), too.

It doesn’t take long in “The Fluffy Movie” to understand Iglesias’ broad appeal (which, judging from the shots of the audience, includes a wide cross-section of ages and races). He isn’t an angry, explosive comic force in the Richard Pryor or George Carlin mold, and he doesn’t work any bluer than an average episode of “Family Guy” (maybe less), but he’s wonderfully at ease in front of the crowd, and his best jokes — which are more like long, Bill Cosby-ish stories — strike a universal chord. Like Cosby’s, too, much of Iglesias’ material turns on the subject of parenting — specifically, his labor-intensive efforts to communicate with his moody teenage stepson, whose privileged upbringing runs starkly counter to Iglesias’ own as one of six children raised by a single welfare mother in Section 8 housing in Long Beach, California. (Iglesias ends the film with an onscreen dedication to “all the stepparents making a difference in a kid’s life, even if those kids don’t know it yet.”)

In a scripted prologue modeled on the one that opened Eddie Murphy’s 1987 concert pic, “Raw,” Iglesias offers a tongue-in-cheek depiction of how his mother (Jacqueline Obradors) first met his mariachi-singer father (Jeremy Ray Valdez); his own entrance into the world (at the hands of a drunken OB-GYN played by fellow comic Ron White); and the stoner videostore clerk (Tommy Chong) who lets the preteen Gabriel (Julio Cesar Chavez) rent Murphy’s movie on VHS, thereby seeding his own career ambitions. Those scenes (credited to director Jay Lavender) give “The Fluffy Movie” a dollop of cinematic ambition, but also serve as a setup for Iglesias’ most inspired and heartfelt routines, about the sudden reappearance of his birth father in his life after a 30-year absence.

In between, Iglesias — attired in a loud Hawaiian shirt, jean shorts and high-top sneakers, an elegant replica of the Golden Gate Bridge at his back (the concert was filmed in San Jose) — brings his warmly ingratiating style to tales of his weight battles (including a traumatizing visit to a “Center for the Morbidly Obese”) and a recent concert tour of India (where he finds surprising correspondences between Indian and Mexican culture). The stories flow smoothly into one another, enhanced by his deft vocal characterizations, from the pinched, nasal whine of a harried waiting-room nurse to the clipped, upper-crust diction of a British manservant.

Some bits — such as Iglesias’ taunting of his stepson with tales of his mother’s libido — don’t work nearly as well, and at times the material tilts a bit too much into self-empowerment territory, though given Iglesias’ journey, it’s hard to begrudge him. At one point, the comic says that fans have asked him what he’ll have to talk about if he keeps losing weight, to which Iglesias answers that he will always have stories to tell. To its credit, “The Fluffy Movie” leaves you wanting to hear more of them.

Film Review: 'The Fluffy Movie'

Reviewed at AMC Empire 25, New York, July 25, 2014. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 101 MIN.

Production: (Documentary) An Open Road Films release and presentation of a Gulfstream Pictures production in association with FluffyShop/ArsonHouse Prods./Levity Entertainment Group. Produced by Mike Karz, William Bindley, Joe Meloche, Ron De Blasio, Gabriel Iglesias. Executive producers, John Bravakis, Stu Schreiberg, Carl Beyer, Jay Lavender. Co-producer, Neil Sheridan.

Crew: Directed by Manny Rodriguez. Camera (color), Larry Blanford; editors, Dave Harrison, Tom Costain; production designer, Bruce Ryan; art director, Larry Wiemer; sound, Steve Morrow; re-recording mixer, Chris Philp; assistant director, Robert A. Ferkle.

With: Gabriel Iglesias, Jacqueline Obradors, Gina Brillon, Alfred Robles, Armando C. Cosio, Rick Gutierrez, Piolin, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Ron White, William Johnson, Tommy Chong, Julio Cesar Chavez, Martin Moreno. (English, Spanish dialogue)

More Film

  • Beatriz Bodegas on Netflix Original: ‘Who

    ‘Who Would You Take to a Desert Island?’ Producer on New Spanish Netflix Original

    BARCELONA – “Who Would You Take to a Desert Island?” is the second directorial outing from Spain’s Jota Linares (“Animales sin collar”) a Netflix Original premiering on Friday, March 22 in competition at the Malaga Spanish Language Film Festival. Starring María Pedraza, Jaime Lorente, Pol Monen and Andrea Ros, the film is the movie adaptation [...]

  • Beijing Festival Unveils 'Max Max,' 'Bourne'

    Beijing Festival Unveils 'Max Max,' 'Bourne,' Kurosawa Screening Series

    The upcoming Beijing International Film Festival will give space to high profile Hollywood franchise movies with screenings of all films in both the “Mad Max” and “Bourne Identity” series. Classic Hollywood fare will also feature prominently in a line-up that, as usual, features an eclectic grab bag of titles. The local government-backed festival opens April [...]

  • J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church

    SXSW Film Review: 'J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius'

    Like 8mm films of 1960s “happenings” or videos of 1970s performance art, “J.R. ‘Bob’ Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius” chronicles a cultural footnote that perhaps should be filed under the heading You Had to Be There. The satirical-absurdist “religion” founded by some Texans actually caught fire among hipsters in the 1980s, influencing some [...]

  • 'Roll Red Roll' Review: Piercing Documentary

    Film Review: 'Roll Red Roll'

    “Roll Red Roll” is a piercingly relevant and disturbing documentary about an infamous high school rape case that took place in Steubenville, Ohio (pop. 18,600), on Aug. 11, 2012. Steubenville, the sort of Friday-night-lights small town that boasts signs that read “Kick off for Jesus,” is a place that’s good at keeping secrets. When the [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild, Hollywood Agents Negotiate With Deadline Looming

    The Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agents have held a sixth negotiating session with a deadline for a new deal 16 days away — and it’s uncertain whether progress is being made. The Association of Talent Agents made counter-proposals at Thursday’s session that contain provisions for more accountability and transparency by agencies for clients [...]

  • Fox Layoffs

    Fox Layoffs Leave Staffers Stunned and Saddened

    Fox employees knew this day was coming. For over a year, the men and women who work at the Century City lot have talked of little else but severance packages and job searches. They knew that when Disney wrapped up its $71.3 billion acquisition of much of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets, thousands [...]

  • Alan Horn Disney

    Disney Clarifies Film Leadership After Harrowing Day of Fox Layoffs

    Following the dismissal of top executives in distribution, marketing and strategy on Thursday, new 20th Century Fox owner Disney has clarified its new top leadership. Five distinct Fox labels and a portion of their leadership have been welcomed into the Disney fold, the company said. This includes Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Family, Fox Searchlight Pictures, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content