Film » Screens

Pull This Bus Over

Without comedy, the whole comedians-on-tour thing just doesn't fly.


Even Vince doesn't laugh at these jokes.
  • Even Vince doesn't laugh at these jokes.

Even at 100 minutes, Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show, a documentary about Vaughn and pals' 2005 bus tour from L.A. to Chicago, plays a little long. That's due mostly to the "comedy show" part, which is filled with such antiquated bits as "Starbucks customers order the damnedest things," "Dudes who show off their iPods in the gym are douche bags," and "Techno music's for tone-deaf stoners."

Echoing the far more successful Comedians of Comedy, Ari Sandel's backstage-diving doc showcases the grind of life on the road. The problem is, Vaughn's fab foursome — amiable irritant John Caparulo, nostalgic Bret Ernst, would-be waiter Sebastian Maniscalco, and proud Muslim Ahmed Ahmed — are thrilled to be along for the ride, which leaves the movie to depend mostly on their time onstage.

The doc does provide plenty of backstory; meeting the comics' families, for instance, offers generous context to material heard earlier in the film. But in the end, it's the bits involving Vaughn and his celeb guests, not his chosen traveling partners, that linger. Chief among them are two re-enactments. In one, Justin Long reads Vaughn's part from Swingers with Jon Favreau. In another, Vaughn re-enacts his part from a 1991 CBS Schoolbreak Special about steroid use, with his actual co-star, A Christmas Story's all-growed-up Peter Billingsley.

Also on hand: Dwight Yoakam, Buck Owens, and Keir O'Donnell — or, as he's always referred to, "the gay guy" from Wedding Crashers. Not the hottest cameos, but when you're clinging to guest stars in a documentary about a comedy tour, you're pretty much destined for the three-for-$10 bin anyway.

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