Heckler is a 2007 documentary from stand-up comedian and actor, Jamie Kennedy.
The premise starts off a simple one, in which a variety of comedians are asked about how they feel about hecklers during their shows. It is a problem that has always been around in the world of comedy but over recent years has gotten progressively worse. All in all, the general consensus from those interviewed is that hecklers are a complete pain in the behind and bring nothing to the show. There are a few that enjoy the idea of the heckler and want to show the audience that they are in charge and the show is still about them; not some drunken idiot that sits in the back and shouts out “You’re rubbish” over and over again until they hopefully get a laugh.
About a third of the way in the film shifts in its tone and purpose. Kennedy uses the documentary for his own gain and starts to address why people don’t like his movies; the main one being Son of the Mask. He invites online critics to meet with him and talk about why they didn’t like his movie. Some of the writers seem to attack him on a purely personal level and he takes great offence at this. They have moved past merely just reviewing the movie as a simple piece of cinema and bashing him for being ‘Jamie Kennedy’. The personal element the Kennedy brings to this part of the documentary shows that even though someone is in the spotlight, they still have to deal with everyday criticism’s about their work; but this time it is on a worldwide scale as anyone with access to the internet can now voice their opinion.
It feels rather strange writing a review about a movie about reviewers, but hey, we live in a crazy world!
Throughout this segment of the film, Kennedy manages to get the thoughts and opinions from various people in the film industry such as Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, Carrie Fisher and even George Lucas. This still doesn’t manage to detract away from Kennedy and his mission to find out why people don’t like movies. They merely act as a breathing space between his scenes.
One of the highlights of the film is a segment in which director Uwe Boll invites some of online critics to come and actually fight him in a boxing ring. It is so absurd, but just goes to show that even though his movies have been slated again and again, he still has an immense about of passion for what he does.
Whilst the two halves of the movie may not gel together completely, it is clear to see that Kennedy has intended to use the idea of comedy heckler’s as a way of bridging the gap into online critics; who are actually referred to heckler’s in the movie. I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this movie and even though some may see it as a chance for actors and comics to have a rant about how people don’t understand their work and should just leave them alone so they carry on how they want to; it is nice for them to actually have a chance to voice their side of the argument.