MICerz, looks at comics in crisis - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Monday, May 2, 2022

MICerz, looks at comics in crisis

 I had high hopes for writer/director Omar Dzlieri’s low-budget, indie film MICerz, which is about a  group of stand-up comedians who bands together to save their local comedy club. A noble cause and one born out of desperation. 

Arnold (Austin Torelli) is a fish out of water, a troubled man. After getting a DUI he decides to drive to work. Not an intelligent decision so his girlfriend tosses him out the door. So now, Arnold is homeless and is forced to live in his van outside of a comedy club named the Bomb Shelter. Dave (Joe Manente), the owner of the comedy club, has forced Arnold to be the handyman, the price of allowing him to keep his van in the parking lot.

Naturally, Arnold connects with the owner, and the comedians rack​ing up new friends like Devontae (Christopher Donnellon),  Dante (Dante Chang), and Nelly (Kaylah Pantaleón). These wannabes talk him into trying stand-up as a way to earn some cash to help his unfortunate living circumstances.

There is something liberating about being on the stage and complaining to paying strangers, so when the club owner (Dave) runs  into a problem that could 

potentially shut the doors of the club forever, the comics try everything they can to save their beloved spot.

There was so much potential here because the life of a struggling comic hasn’t changed. They get lousy slots. Are paid very little and run the risk of judgment each time they step on stage. What happened with MICerz is that it tried to be funny. Perhaps Dzlieri didn’t get the memo about comedy being one of the hardest genres to make. I mean what’s funny is subjective. Here, most of the comedy seems forced, and it’s just not funny. This could have worked beautifully in the creators’ favor, crafting a movie about a group of “comics” that will never succeed. A dramedy — painful sure but interesting to watch. 

I don’t know why the viewer has to be subjected to bad standup for standup's sake.  And Dave, screaming in the mic, makes me want to walk away. I think the only comic that was able to pull of yelling at customers is Sam Kinison.  

I push in, again, in what I think would have made MICerz an interesting film and that's watching regular people struggle to live their dreams and fail because it's more relatable. That being said (again) Arnold is hard to care about which is a fatal flaw in creating any film. You must have a character that we root for. Plus — MICerz  is just not funny.  We watch Arnold bomb over and over again and we don’t care and that’s a major flaw. 

Here’s what I did like. Pantaleón the only female comedian in the group.  Dzlieri could have done so much with this character. A missed opportunity for sure. 

MICerz relatable core story is about chasing a dream. That we get. But it’s not enough to make this a good movie. 

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