Conan O'Brien Can't Stop

(2011)

Genres: Documentary

Review: Conan O'Brien Can't Stop

Transcript for Review: Conan O'Brien Can't Stop

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Next up is the documentary "Conan O'Brien Can't Stop." It follows the late-night host on the 32-city tour he staged between the time he was forced out of NBC and the beginning of his new program on TBS. Contractually, he couldn't be on TV during that time -- so he took his show on the road. 

Clip 1 -- Conan at Bonnaroo rehearsing to introduce an act

Director Rodman Flender alternates between O'Brien performing on stage and goofing off behind-the scenes with his staff. His assistant bears the brunt of his merciless hazing.

Clip 3 -- Conan teases his assistant

If you're a fan of O'Brien, this will reinforce your feeling that he is a comic genius. He is hugely talented, and inventive, and fearless, and tall.  And watching his process makes that even more clear. But this is no infomercial for him. O'Brien frequently comes off as an abusive jerk, especially in the way he gets impatient with his staff and with fans. He can be warm, but he can also snap, and that quick wit of his can be biting. I'm actually surprised that he was OK with such a warts-and-all depiction of himself -- but that makes this movie even more fascinating. Thumbs up from me.

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
This is pretty darn good and your right it’s not a puff piece, it’s not a hatchet job exactly either.

CHRISTY: 
It’s not like the Justin Bieber movie either though where it’s like love me I’m awesome.

IGNATIY: 
Um, I think one thing that instantly comes to mind with this film, and I think many people will think of it is kind of the definitive unflattering tour documentary which is the Bob Dylan documentary Don’t Look Back.  

CHRISTY:
Don’t Look Back.

IGNATIY:
And this is, actually feels a lot like that film where you know it’s as much about how kind of brilliant the subject is, but also the subject comes off as kind of abrasive, there’s a famous scene there between Bob Dylan and Donovan and here there’s sort of a similarly uncomfortable scene between Conan O’Brien and Jack Mcbrayer.

CHRISTY:
Right, he’s teasing him, but how much is a joke? 

IGNATIY:
And how much is McBrayer playing along? Because it just goes on and on and on and he’s just making fun of McBrayer’s accent and his background and at one point he starts playing the, ah, what is it, the theme from Deliverance.

CHRISTY:
Deliverance, he’s dancing with a banjo. Right, and you wonder, is Jack McBrayer really kind of miffed or is he playing along, too, cause he’s a comic, but he acknowledges, “Ok, I’m hard on my staff, I’m hard on myself, I’m hard on them and that comes out like this,” so he’s at least self aware of how he is, but I was kind of taken aback.  

IGNATIY:
Yeah it’s not completely negative, but at the same time he’s willing to show a very dark side of his personality.