The Insider Look
It so happens that filmmaker Ricki Stern's mother is a close friend of Rivers' and, so, the comedienne agreed to be the subject of this biodoc, and to allow the filmmakers unrestricted access to her daily life, her thoughts about career and feelings about family.
Rivers is a workaholic who keeps record of every joke she hears or thinks up on neatly organized file cards. She dreads having a day off -- empty boxes on wall calendars scare her more than anything and we see her struggling to get gigs to fill them. We spend time with her in the apartment in which she lives extremely lavishly, but we see that she has to work like a dog to support the extravagant life style we see throughout the film, and especially during the Thanksgiving feast she throws for family and friends.
The Ultimate Entertainer
The Bottom LineThe documentary is clearly a tribute to Joan Rivers and all she's accomplished. Rich with Rivers' trademark wit and razzle dazzle, the film is sure to entertain. But, while the filmmakers present a rush of amusing one-liners and a chain of interesting events in Rivers' life to, they also gently guide you to contemplate the value of celebrity and our celebrity culture.
As seen in their previous films -- including The Devil Came On Horseback, about a military advisor who feel compelled to take a stand against the genocide in Darfur, and The Trials of Darryl Hunt, about a wrongly convicted man who spent 20 years in prison for a murder he did not commit -- Stern and Sundberg have a rare talent for defining and presenting their central characters. As a character, Joan Rivers demands their skills, and they do their subject proud. Very proud.
If you Like This Film, You May Also Like:
- Razzle Dazzle
- Hats Off
- Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing
- Runnin' Down A Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
- Title: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
- Directors: Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg
- Release Date: June 11, 2010 (limited theatrical release)
- Running Time: 84 mins.
- MPAA Rating: R for language and sexual humor
- Parents Advisory: Parents Guide: Content advisory for parents
- Locations: New York City
- Language: English
- Distribution: IFC Films