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"Notorious C.H.O."

Directed by Lorene Machado.
Written by Margaret Cho.
Release Year:  2002 
Review Date:  7/17/02 


“Notorious C.H.O.” is not showing in many places, but damn, if it’s showing in your city, you need to get over to the theater so you can laugh your ass off!

Comedian Margaret Cho has had, at the very best, an average acting career; her career highlight may still be as John Travolta’s assistant in the John Woo action film “Face/Off.”  But, she has been running around the improv circuit for years, and in her second feature film, she is hilarious.  After a short film on Korean and black relationships in an animated short before the main event (which is beautifully racist as it pokes fun at a black guy and an older Korean woman in a 7-11), Cho riffs on all manner of sexuality and sex-related humor, while throwing in impressions of her mother, gays, lesbians, actresses, drag queens, you name it.

In fact, the degree to which Cho talks about sex is mostly shocking because you’ve never seen another female comedian talk about sex acts as openly.  This also is the funniest part of the movie, with jokes coming about periods, bisexuality, orgasms, and oral sex.  Her section on hunger fits had my friend Melissa falling out of her chair, and her trip to a colon-cleaning clinic and an S&M club had the entire theater rolling.

Oh, it gets worse, friends, but I can’t talk about any of that here.  Cho is a genius in terms of her comic timing, and the way she holds her facial reactions as she plays a dozen different characters are almost as funny as the jokes themselves.  Her delivery—a slow drawl that just oozes out of her mouth—helps set up her shocking conclusions, like when she opens the show by talking about the tragedy of 9/11...only to talk about what she did to help out the rescue effort by, ahem, “servicing” the workers at ground zero.  You don’t see it coming, but when it does, it helps loosen you up and break out some serious laughter.

All I can safely tell you here is to go out and see this film.  While not as good as the all-time stand-up movie classic “Bill Cosby: Himself”, this one is right up there.  I’ll never look at short lesbians the same way again...

Rating:  Opening Weekend


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09