Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

DysFunkTional Family

Not quite a King Of Comedy, not quite an established box-office draw, and not quite a household name, Eddie Griffin could easily start using Avis Rent A Car's old slogan: "We're #2, So We Try Harder." And try hard he does in DysFunkTional Family, his second stand-up film (counting the Master P hybrid Foolish as his first). Pacing, battering a grand piano apparently placed on stage to serve two jokes, creating broad segues between topics, and trying every trick to keep the pace from slackening, Griffin treats stand-up as a sprint, not a marathon. The film, helmed by Double Take director George Gallo, tries harder still, pumping up the laugh track, repeatedly showing Griffin's audience in hysterics, and cutting out pauses between gags in an apparent attempt to produce the comedy equivalent of all-climax porn. If its star were more consistently funny, it might have worked, but the film opens with a string of dreadful Sept. 11 gags and takes a while to recover. Almost by way of compensation, much of what follows comes straight from the Big Sack O' Time-Tested Comedy Topics: the differences between dogs and cats (Griffin is pro-cat), the differences between white people and black people (the way they walk, for one), the differences between men and women (such as the way they shop), oral-sex techniques (accompanied by funny faces), and so on. DysFunkTional Family works best when it literally sticks close to home, concentrating on Griffin's observations on family–even though his bit on corporal punishment might be enough to get his mother indicted for child abuse, if the statute of limitation hasn't expired. Gallo intersperses documentary segments throughout the film, visiting Griffin's old haunts and interviewing his family. Not too surprisingly, they all have nice things to say about him. It seems unlikely that anyone not already tuned into Griffin's energetic but familiar brand of stand-up will leave the film with similarly warm feelings.