The Lovemaster Movie Review
He's not joking, and if you've ever heard any of Shoemaker's stand-up material, you know what you're in for with his feature film, where Shoemaker blends his multiple stage personalities with stories about growing up, the mysteries of women, and 1970s television, the result being a campy goulash of howlingly-funny comedy.
Most of the film is cut together from an Arizona stand-up performance, where Shoemaker's real forte shines. That forte is the characters that he plays on stage, from a much-too-realistic Barney Fife, to "vagina man" (don't ask), to the end-all, be-all of human lust -- The Lovemaster, a guy so sexy he makes Barry White look like a wuss. Shoemaker slips in and out of these characters like a schizophrenic without his Prozac, getting more and more twisted until finally, safe-&-sane Craig inevitably pops out, trying to undo all he's done with a fey cry, "Erase! Erase! Erase!"
While the 82-minute picture is mostly stand-up, it also includes some flashback vignettes outside the club, mainly to expound upon jokes Shoemaker has going on inside. These mainly involve Craig and his therapist (George Wendt), wife (Harley Jane Kozak), platonic friend (Courtney Thorne-Smith), and dream date (Farrah Fawcett). And while these bits are supposed to show you how his life is his act, the act itself is usually a lot funnier. (Austinites will also enjoy cameos from the city's KLBJ morning radio personalities -- Dale Dudley, Bob Fonseca, and Debra Cole.)
Of course, making a movie in the environs of a comedy club certainly has its limitations, and Shoemaker does his best to overcome them, mainly by toying with audience members, and succeeds as well as can be expected. Still, there's something lacking in the production values of the whole thing. And while the jokes don't really get going until the halfway point, The Lovemaster still remains a fine example of the stand-up genre.
Besides, where else can you see Barney Fife talk dirty in slow-motion?