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
"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 bad...man, 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
"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