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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Pauly Shore Is Dead (2004)

"Who's Pauly Shore? Oh, right, he was on MTV before I was born."
- Britney Spears

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: January 25, 2005

Stars: Pauly Shore
Other Stars: Jamie Bergman, Todd Bridges, Rick Ducommun, Earl W. Brown, Pamela Anderson, B-Real, Tommy Chong, Carson Daly, Ellen DeGeneres, Andy Dick, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Fred Durst, Kurt Loder, Heidi Fleiss, Rico Suave, Adam Sandler, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton, Michael Madsen, Bill Maher, Chris Rock, Charlie Sheen, Mitzi Shore, Tommy Lee, Tom Sizemore, Carrot Top, Vince Vaughn, Jerry Springer, Sam Kinison, Mark McGrath, Matt Pinfield
Director: Pauly Shore

MPAA Rating: R for (language, sexual humor)
Run Time: 01h:22m:38s
Release Date: January 25, 2005
UPC: 024543160229
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D+ DB-C B-

DVD Review

When I think of Pauly Shore, I ask not "where is he now?" but "why was he ever?" The former MTV VJ who, in the early '90s, somehow stretched a one-note sketch character (the wea-sel, buuuddy, if you're fortunate enough to have blocked the memory) into a one-note film career. The result? Some truly brainless comedies, no better or worse than the collected works of, say, Rob Schneider, but nothing you need to see once you reached the age of reason (in this case, about 12). Shore's career ground to a halt once the moderately popular Bio-Dome begat the less successful Son-in-Law, and finally the less-fun-than-actual-jury-duty Jury Duty, and he disappeared, never to be mentioned again, save every day on VH1, during reruns of I Love the '90s.

But if you ask Pauly, his 15 minutes ended not because it went on 14 minutes too long and people got sick of him, but because that's the way Hollywood works, and the studio people just moved on to the next big thing. That's the basic argument of Pauly Shore Is Dead, anyway, Shore's independently produced Hollywood in-joke, which he wrote, produced, and directed. He plays an exaggerated version of himself, narrating his rise to the top and subsequent failure. One night, he's visited by the ghost of the late comic Sam Kinnison, who tells him the only way to save his career is to commit suicide and go out as a "genius who died before his time," like Belushi (I'd say that's unlikely, but it certainly worked for Chris Farley). Shore instead decides to fake his death so he can be around to watch celebrities come out to praise him (MTV devotes 24 hours to memorial coverage).

Once his stunt is exposed, Pauly just as quickly becomes a Hollywood pariah, gets thrown in jail and, in the process, alienates his one true fan, Bucky (Earl W. Brown), a Son-in-Law-obsessed trailer trash hick with a brood of inbred children. I'm sure Pauly is just trying to be funny, but suggesting that your movies are big among the rural white trash community, and then expecting your actual fans to not take offense, is a risky move. Especially since Pauly Shore has no fans, according to an authoritative voice in my head that makes up statistics.

Pauly's concept is worthy of Larry David (even though I can't shake the feeling I've seen it somewhere before, probably from Larry David), but the execution is lacking, to say the least. The script, by Shore and writing partner Kirk Fox, was revised over a period of four years and skewed from drama to comedy along the way (and at one point didn't even feature Shore, but a fictitious action star). The result of all that tinkering is a fairly obvious, poorly plotted attempt at satire, one that aims high (and I get what Shore was trying to say, I do), but more than misses the mark. Shore is trying to explain that this is the way it works in Hollywood—one minute you're hot, the next, you can't even get a sitcom deal on Fox—but all the good ideas in the world (let's cast the film with has-beens playing thinly veiled versions of themselves! Kato managing a cheap motel! Rico Suave selling oranges by the side of the road!) aren't worth a lick if the material isn't funny, and, for the most part, the film is all ideas, no actual jokes, and it all feels pretty defensive and mean-spirited. There are a lot of cameos from famous people (pretty much anyone Shore could convince to stand in front of a camera, it seems), but they aren't given much to work with. It seems like we're supposed to think the scene is funny because it has Sean Penn in it, whether he's actually saying anything funny or not.

Shore, a first time director, should have probably put someone else behind the camera. Shot on digital video for budgetary reasons, the film looks very cheap, and the camerawork is inevitably of the locked-down, point and shoot variety... nothing to give the dry material any drive or energy. Even with a handful or good actors in cameo roles, the pacing kills nearly every scene (the only laugh in the entire film comes courtesy of Ben Stiller, and is undercut seconds later when Shore lets the joke go on too long).

Look, I give Shore credit for trying to make a movie with something to say, and for financing and shooting it himself. But all the effort in the world doesn't ensure a good movie (and neither, it seems, do cameos from Ellen DeGeneres, Adam Sandler, Charlie Sheen, and, uh, Paris Hilton). If Shore does have die-hard fans, they might like it (assuming they haven't inbred themselves into extinction by this point, ha ha), but most anyone else who wastes 80 minutes with Pauly Shore Is Dead will likely wish his career had stayed that way.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: D


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: Pauly Shore Is Dead does not present a pretty picture. Shot on what was obviously a very low budget, it looks more like television, with flat lighting and dull colors. The DVD does an OK job presenting an unremarkable image, and includes no obvious edge enhancement and only a few instances of obvious aliasing, though the image is a bit grainy-looking.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The included 5.1 mix never sounds like anything better than muddled 2.0. The front soundstage sounds fairly flat and unimpressive, with dialogue that's clear enough but music that is mixed too loudly and without a hint of bass. Surrounds are totally mute throughout, unless I missed something.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
9 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by writer/director Pauly Shore
Packaging: Keep Case
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Bonus material intros by rappers Eminem and Proof
Extras Review: Though from the way the extras are arranged, it doesn't seem like there is much on the disc, Pauly Shore Is Dead actually includes a surprising amount of fairly decent bonus material, all of it housed on the widescreen side.

Pauly's commentary isn't the best place to start. He talks constantly, but gets too caught up in explaining how this scene or that scene went during shooting, or how a particular cameo was filmed, and not enough time talking about the story he was trying to tell, and how he went about producing the film independently.

Interrogating the Wiez (14m:42s) is a Q&A session between Pauly and a class of USC film students. Here is where he goes a bit further into the stuff I really wanted to know about—why he decided to make the movie, how he went about financing it, and the challenges of the development process. It's not exactly deep, but it's fine as far as this type of material goes, and Pauly seems more at ease in front of an audience than he does on-camera, that's for sure.

The rest of the material is somewhat confusingly classified under the menu option Celebrity Host Wraps with Eminem and Proof, which actually includes deleted scenes and a making-of featurette as well. The Eminem and Proof "toss offs" to the different areas of the disc are totally pointless, but make for a good marketing bullet point, I guess. Likewise with the Hilton sisters' introduction to the deleted scenes reel (16:05). The cut material includes a cameo from Dustin "Screech" Diamond best never spoken of again and parody versions of the final film's talk show scenes—before Shore was able to get the actual Jerry Springer to participate, he shot similar scenes with a "Gerry Dinger" look-alike.

There is an entire separate section (with its own, ahem, essential Eminem toss off) of cut scenes with Charlie Sheen (13:02), as well as a 04m:47s parody bit with Aaron Lewis of the band Staind.

Rounding out the bonus material is the 16m:58s Making My Movie making-of piece, and it isn't bad—Pauly says early on that it "could be better than the actual movie", and he's not far off. It's shorter, anyway. We watch Pauly as he moves through production, first trying to secure cash from investors in Vegas (when they don't bite, he tries rap mogul Dr. Dre, and then, some prostitutes... seriously), then decides to make random passersby on the set producers, then actually starts filming. It moves quickly, but in general, it's pretty strong as these things go.

All told, there is over an hour of bonus material (plus the commentary), most of it accessible via a Play All option. I didn't think much of the movie, but fans aren't going to have any complaints about the DVD.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Though its writer/director/titular star may still be alive and well, Pauly Shore Is Dead is DOA. An unpleasant, depressing attempt at a Hollywood satire, this mean-spirited 80 minutes of self-flagellation may have been cathartic for Shore, but his fans are probably better off watching Bio-Dome again. Ignore the star cameos touted on the DVD packaging; this one's a stinker, buuuddy.


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