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A Prairie Home Companion Review

Published June 9, 2006 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Picturehouse.
A Prairie Home Companion A Prairie Home Companion Poster
There surely is an audience for A Prairie Home Compaion, but it sure ain’t me. I can get into art films. Anything that’s creative has a chance but pure self indulgence does not amuse me. Between Robert Altman, Garrison Keillor and all the award winning actors just waiting to use all their drama school techniques, there’s no room for anyone looking for entertainment or insight.


A Prairie Home Companion Review


It’s all jokes for pretentious people who love themselves. If “let there be hair” sounds like witty satire to you, maybe this is your movie. If you liked Michael Winslow in the Police Academy movies, you’ll love a bit with the sound effects guy on this radio show.

Weird slapstick like rolling a bad joint feels out of place. The occasional pratfall is not funny because there’s no comic build-up. It’s just “Oh, he stumbled.”

The story about shoplifting a donut would be funny to see, but just to hear it? Come to think of it, if Kevin Smith or Quentin Tarantino’s characters told the story, it would also be funny, but with the rambly country accents there’s no comic timing.

Now, a PI’s description of a woman’s underwear and her Mount Rushmore T-shirt is amusing because it plays with the hardboiled detective genre. A series of dirty jokes is cute. But these are sporadic comic bursts in a film that just relishes in itself.



Okay, everyone talks over each other. We get it, that’s the gimmick. But seriously, does no one listen in any of the worlds Robert Altman chooses to portray? They all just talk at each other?

The sad thing is, it’s just repetitive. No one’s adding anything, they’re just copying each other. A singer talks about a song her mom loved, and her sister adds, “Oh yeah, it was one of her favorites.” What is the point of saying that? It’s not new information. It’s just talking to hear herself speak. One talks about naming her daughter Lola after her mother, and the sister agrees that yes, Lola was her mother’s name. Gee, thanks for reinforcing that.

None of the subplots about radio stars facing the cancellation of their show is the least bit sympathetic, and everyone feels sorry for themselves. Also, it’s not such a great show anyway. It shouldn’t have lasted this long anyway. Of course, the movie doesn’t mention that it’s NPR.

The issues are boring. Who cares if a singer dated the host? And the hints of an afterlife? The angels and devils may be the voice of the audience but it’s still pretentious. I could go on, but I don’t want to start rambling.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Picturehouse.
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