by Dane Youssef
"....WELL, YOU STILL MAY NOT LIKE THIS ONE"
Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Bill Cosby, Bernie Mac, Darryl Hugley, Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Harvey. What do they all have in common?
They are all stand-up comedians who have had the honor of having their stand-up acts get filmed into movies.
"Dice Rules" is one of the few to actually make it to theaters. And with good reason. Dice is one of those comedians who has a strong persona and stage presence. As a matter of fact, that's stronger than any of his material.
The very beginning of the flick where the Diceman croons is almost worth the rental price. He has such pipes, you kind of wish he actually put more use into them. He did a first-rate job in his first (and only) Hollywood star-vehicle "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" where he sings "But I Ain't' Got You." He does the same here with an opening bit "Can't You Take A Joke?" But before we're treated to the main course (Dice in a sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden), we get an appetizer. You know, so these things feel more like an actual movie than just some tape-recorded stand-up bit.
The opening clip entitled "A Day In The Life" features a cock-and-bull prologue about who he was (Andrew Silverstein) before he became "The Diceman." Eddie Murphy has a brilliant one in his stand-up movie "Raw," and Martin Lawrence had an effective one at the beginning of "Runtelldat" where the press is airing out Lawrence's dirty laundry and kicking him when he's down on his knees.
That quickie movie in "Dice Rules," is the biggest abomination and folly since Napoleon and Waterloo. Dice has NEVER been this unfunny. Has anyone?
The Jerry Lewis vocalizations are painfully annoying. Not just annoying really, but actual torture. Like bamboo under the fingernails or death by a thousand cuts. I know he's know for that shit (he's known for breaking into on occasion), but it irritates to the point that we feel like we're being interrogated. The people antagonizing his ass, riding him like a damn pogo stick, until he's ready to break. It's so horribly done. It's not even so bad, it's funny. It's more like... unforgivable. And the payoff (I can't believe I just used that term), is so patronizing, it's the most offensive thing in the whole movie. Not the God-dammed stand-up material.
I read right here on IMDb that the whole "Diceman" character was largely inspired by Jerry Lewis in "The Nutty Professor." Fine, but that mock Lewis voice is excruciating. And the other actors are just as bad. Well... almost as bad.
Good Lord, and he wrote this bit? I was so sick, I couldn't even vomit.
Then this mini-colonoscopy ends and we're treated to centerpiece. The minute we see the Diceman pull on his luxurious studded trademark leather jacket, we know something big is happening. As if Elvis himself has resurrected and is performing for one night only. Perhaps for them, it is.
His impersonation of an Italian accent is so thick, you could choke on it. It's a miracle he doesn't.
The weirdest thing about the film is the audience members in concert. The audience doesn't stay quiet while he tells his jokes and then laugh when the punch line comes. They spend almost every second throughout the film cheering. Every time he opens his mouth, every time he says something---anything--the audience cheers like mad. Hell, every time he finishes a sentence (even before he actually even begins to make a point), the whole damn crowd gives him a standing ovation.
Jesus, throughout the whole damn movie, the cheering never stops. Dice may the star here, but it feels like we hear the damn crowd more than him. I... I must confess, I actually someone to start heckling them. I wanted to start throwing tomatoes at the crowd.
Remember the "Seinfeld" episode where Jerry gets heckled by Kramer's girlfriend, so Jerry, in retaliation, goes to where she works to heckle her? Yeah, I wanted to grab every one of them and scream, "Hey, idiots! You're in awe of the Dice, I can see that, but I can't hear HIM! DAMN!
Oh, and you know that whole "Jerry Lewis" vocal shtick I was talking about? Yeah, he keeps doing it throughout the whole movie. Whenever he's impersonating someone else, especially some woman. Lord, it makes you want to kill. Him.
Dice's usual subjects---women, sex, homosexuals, New Yorkers, the elderly, the ill. Hell, birds and insects, even. I gotta admit, I laughed at that. Damn freaking' birds & insects.
Still, as a stand-up concert film, this one's kind of a strike-out. The opening bit is too dumb and horrible to inspire anyone to do anything, but feel pain. And the rest of the stand-up, well... if you're a Dice fanatic (and you damn well who you are), then well.. hit-and-miss.
Dice is polarizing. You love the MF or you want him dead. There's no middle ground.
So, if you are reading these words right now... this review, and ANY of the other registered user reviews on IMDb for this one... that means that...
A)Youv'e been wanting to see this movie since you first fell in love with Dice. But it's been hard to find, especially on DVD. Not exactly "Casablanca."
B)You already have and you're just curious to see what others had to say about it.
Otherwise, you'll give yourself rabies, beat yourself to death, swallow fire (and more) before you even glance at one frame at anything related to Dice.
Still, "Ford Fairlane" continues to be his best work. I'd like to see Silverman actually cut a whole album full of music with himself on vocals and maybe push back for a while on the possibility of another comedy album anytime soon.
--Dice Bores, Dane Youssef