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They say that when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade. Well, that's pretty much what actress/comedienne Annabelle Gurwitch did when she was summarily fired from a Woody Allen play. She turned her experience first into a successful stage show, and then into a feature-length documentary, appropriately entitled "Fired!"
Gurwitch uses this film not merely as therapy for herself but as a means of comforting other people who have experienced the same situation. In wildly funny terms, the filmmaker reenacts the euphoric moment when she first heard that she had been hired by the great director, then the personally devastating scene when she was dismissed from the production, and finally the initial dark days of depression immediately following the canning. She then chronicles the proactive steps she took to convert her sour experience into a sweet-tasting personal triumph. After seeking solace and advice from an assortment of friends, therapists and clergy (also reenacted here), she decided to delve into other people's stories about being fired and to use them as material for a stand-up comedy stage show of which she herself was the host. When that turned out to be a hit, Gurwitch decided to make a documentary film about the experience.
In the movie, she interviews well-known comic celebrities such as Fred Willard, Anne Meara, Tim Allen, Andy Dick, Illeana Douglas and others on their experiences of losing a job and provides snippets of her stage show as well. She also sets up a booth at a local job fair to hear the firing stories of some of the people there.Read more ›
First, the good. Gurwitch is an appealing personality and an engaging host. Even in forced situations, she's a likable presence. Gurwitch has many friends in the entertainment community (mostly comedic actors) and their stories provide genuine amusement. She even put together a stage show where her friends shared their experiences with a live audience. It looks like great fun, and if Gurwitch had stayed focused on these elements--"Fired!" might have been a rousing success.
Now, the not-so-good. "Fired!" doesn't really know what it wants to be. There are quite a few comedy bits inserted into the film that undermine the documentary feel. From the staged recreation of Woody Allen letting her go, to David Cross' phony advice which leads to a self indulgent skit, to a bizarrely unnecessary romp with Andy Dick serving food--Gurwitch wants to appeal to everyone. That's fine, I suppose--but the tone of the piece shifts all over the place. From Dick's outrageousness in a contrived setup to the plight of the autoworkers facing mass layoffs--that is a huge leap.Read more ›
That caveat aside, there are many laughs to be had in this documentary, and they are often exhilarating. Celebrity interviews include Anne Meara, Jeff Garlin, Tim Allen, and Harry Shearer. Meanwhile, the DVD includes more than an hour's worth of out takes, to show that you can't really exhaust the subject. Should be required viewing for anyone going through job loss; it cuts the trauma down to size.
Didn't someone involved with this project speak up and say, "You shouldn't have music playing when people are speaking. Especially when the voices were recorded live, on location. Passing trucks, in particular. At least use sub-titles."
Anyway, this movie is ruined for me and goodbye to my $2.99.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Is the 2007 documentary FIRED! supposed to be about losing one's job for just or unjust reasons, as in stealing from the cash register or discrimination, respectively? Read morePublished 22 months ago by J. L LaRegina
This is a good film on a painful but necessary topic. Getting fired, like near death experiences, teaches you beyond any thing else.Published 22 months ago by Roy Williams
I like the way the subject was present in such a comedic fashion. The unfortunate reality is that many will experience being fired or laid off from at least one job in their... Read morePublished on December 24, 2012 by Diemesha McMiller
Good for Gurwitch. Lemons to Lemonade story. But, yes, I would like a longer film. I wanted to the hear the celebs tell their stories. Read morePublished on September 2, 2012 by Teacher man
Fired is funny, sincere, unpretencious and entertaining as is its star and producer, Annabelle Gurwtich.Published on September 1, 2007 by Jeff Kahn
By now, all corners of the universe have been notified that actress Annabelle Gurwitch got the sack from Woody Allen, who said of her performance: "You look retarded. Read morePublished on June 11, 2007 by Flipper Campbell