As far as I'm concerned, actor Andy Dick has only been truly funny once: in the '90's sitcom "Newsradio", where creator Paul Simms and that show's stellar writers crafted a bizarre, pricelessly funny and memorable character for Dick to play. Otherwise, Dick has grown increasingly annoying, called upon almost always to play the "wacky" sidekick.
"Danny Roane: First Time Director" is Dick's first time directing (he also wrote) a feature film, and the results are...well, they're interesting, although not necessarily in a good way. Dick plays Danny Roane, a former sitcom star and alcoholic (the first scene has Roane on Jimmy Kimmel, where he gets drunk and pees on Kimmel and former "Malcom in the Middle" star Frankie Muniz) who is now trying to make a movie about his troubles.
We see Danny as he proceeds to upset his production staff (spending an entire meeting deciding whether or not his hair should be slicked back, and breaking a production designer's model to use as a voting box. He calls in Ben Stiller to act in the movie as a horse, while actor James Van Der Beek is brought in to be bleeding out of his rear (one of too many bathroom gags) in the movie.
When Danny gets a swig of alcohol on-set accidentally, things go downhill as the director falls back into the bottle. "Danny Roane" has a few major problems, although they largely revolve around Andy Dick. The actor stole quite a few scenes in "Newsradio", but he was one member of an amazing ensemble cast. On the other hand, 84 minutes where Andy Dick is the focus becomes a little too much. The script doesn't help matters, either: horrible jokes like having Van Der Beek's character bleeding from the rear keep going on and on. The "film within a film" is supposed to be awful, but it's not awful in a way that's funny, clever or interesting.
The cast isn't much better: Van Der Beek's look of confusion at what he's supposed to be doing there seems genuine, and Stiller looks genuinely upset. Dick obviously called a few friends to appear, but they either look like they wonder what they've gotten themselves into or look as if they were dragged there. Given that Dick himself has had some troubles with drug and alcohol addiction, some of this material is also a little depressing, as one can imagine it may be fairly close to what the actor went through.
This is a dreary vanity project for Dick, and it's really too bad that no one has truly used him in the way that creator Paul Simms did with "Newsradio". Left on his own though, I was really hoping he'd come up with more than this. Even Pauly Shore's similar "Pauly Shore Is Dead" was more entertaining.
VIDEO: "Danny Roane: First Time Director" is presented by Lionsgate in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The film is supposed to look like a "making of" documentary, and it clearly looks like it was shot on very basic digital video. Some grain, artifacting and other concerns are present, while colors look murky and sometimes a bit smeary.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was a basic, forward-heavy track, with way too much music.
EXTRAS: Outtakes, extended scenes and trailers for other titles from the studio.
Final Thoughts: After thirty minutes, I was wishing "Danny Roane" would either end or get to the point a little quicker. The whole thing feels thrown together, and the bathroom humor is tired and unfunny. Skip it.
The Film D