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Review: Jimmy Tingle's American Dream

 A comedian's life ain't nothin' but hustle and rejection
By MICHAEL C. WALSH  |  October 5, 2011
1.5 1.5 Stars

This documentary from Boston comedian Jimmy Tingle and director Vincent Straggas excels in depicting the plight of the stand-up comedian. That profession consists of hustle and rejection, all with the tenuous hope that it will pay off in the end. In many ways, that toil represents what many Americans go through every day, regardless of occupation. Part stand-up special, part autobiography, with some man-on-the-street prodding thrown in as well, the film sets out to define the American Dream by examining three tent poles that have shaped our nation: religion, immigration, and family. Unfortunately, Tingle and Straggas don't tie them together and a lot of Tingle's own commentary comes off as riffing — not unlike his stand-up sets, which are laced with familiar political satire. He also talks to and gains insight from some worthwhile commentators, including two of the more prolific American minds of the last century, Robert Altman and Howard Zinn. But their original perspectives make the film's shortcomings seem more glaring.

  Topics: Reviews , Jimmy Tingle, comedian, historians
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