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Review: Saturday Night

Franco's debut documentary possibly better than an actual episode of Saturday Night Live
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 21, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars

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Actor James Franco’s debut feature, a behind-the-scenes look at the December 6, 2008, episode of Saturday Night Live, is kind of like Jean-Luc Godard’s Sympathy for the Devil with less music and more fart jokes. Step by step, from the Monday-morning pitch meeting to show time, he records the process of making comedy.

And unlike, say, the manufacture of sausages, the process is almost better than the finished product. What could be more of a blast than staying up all night working on a hilarious sketch with Bill Hader or Seth Meyers, or selecting the perfect flatulence sound effect for a skit in time for the Wednesday reading?

What could be more tragic than realizing that the brilliant idea you’re testing out is awful and you still have six pages to go? John Malkovich is the host, and has anyone ever made the word “calculator” sound funnier? I’m just surprised they cut the Empire Carpet skit.

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