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Friday, September 17, 2010

Film review | I'm Still Here


Nowhere Man

by Thomas Delapa



Joaquin Phoenix may be still with us, but his really awful mock documentary, I’m Still Here, is going nowhere fast.

Dumped in theaters with little fanfare, the film has now been revealed to be a hoax. In a recent interview with The New York Times, director Casey Affleck said that virtually the whole act was made up. Except for the truly gullible (“Unflinchingly honest” raved Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman), the few people who’ve actually seen Phoenix’s bizarre pseudo reality show might have hurriedly left doubting what they saw.

In a long, 108-minute crash-and-burn, Affleck follows Phoenix from his 2008 “retirement” as an actor to his to aborted rebirth as a hip-hop performer. From the tabloid fodder of his disastrous appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman to his mawkish auditioning for rapper Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Phoenix implodes before the cameras, looking like a cross between Charles Manson and the Unibomber. In his private, profusely profane, moments, he lets it all hang out, starting with his pot belly. When he’s not trashing his friends and cronies in fits of mumbling paranoia, he’s imbibing with cocaine and hookers. The spectacle quickly goes down the toilet, bottoming out in a disgusting scene of scatological revenge. The meltdown climaxes in Phoenix’s short-lived appearance at a Miami night club, where he hops into the crowd to fight a heckler.

While Phoenix and Affleck may have pretentiously meant I’m Still Here as an attention-getting satire on celebrity, the laughable joke is on them. Phoenix doesn’t need a director or even a therapist. It seems obvious that this sophomoric poseur still needs to be potty trained.

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