'David Cross: Oh Come On': Film Review
Prolific performance-film director Lance Bangs captures David Cross' latest stand-up set.
Acknowledging his middle-age, bougie compromises while taking pains to stay edgy, David Cross' latest stand-up special Oh Come On begins with observations on becoming a parent and ends in an extended fantasy of violence against Donald Trump. Scatology is an obvious unifier between these two topics, and a running theme in the show itself, which is strongest not in its extended narratives but in the absurdist sneak-attacks they sometimes contain. Another in a long string of performance docs by music-video and Jackass veteran Lance Bangs, it's as stylistically straightforward as concert films get, but should play well to fans in its limited theatrical release as it simultaneously arrives on digital platforms.
Filmed at Asheville, North Carolina's Orange Peel, the set wakes fans up with a stand-alone pair of shock jokes ("Too soon?") before threatening to put them to sleep when Cross reveals that he and his wife (actress Amber Tamblyn) recently had a child. Don't worry, he quickly adds, this isn't going to be an hour of dad jokes. Then he launches into the dad jokes — albeit ones involving topics (abortion, the Holocaust) that wouldn't fly in a room full of squares. Cross will later pretend that this was all a put-on, that he'd never be so cruel as to bring a child into the horror-show world he's describing; that's a very odd dodge for a film that closes with a montage of scenes of Cross and Tamblyn's sweet-looking toddler.
Cross then tells a long story about his first encounter with colonics. An amusing adventure through elective discomfort and embarrassment — and an opportunity to note his hatred for "faux-progressive" Santa Monica and its weird customs — it's a privileged person's echo to a story from an earlier act, in which Cross lost control of his bowels while walking down the street. Here, too, the highlights are two out-of-nowhere tangents that shouldn't be spoiled, one of which might enter the lexicon of made-up sex acts.
And then there's politics. Sounding for a minute as if he were working a fundraiser for an Air America reboot, Cross riffs on a long list of grievances against the White House's current occupant — he has to read from a script here, he admits, because the list grows by the day — before imagining the various ways this presidency might end. Launching into a long scenario he says is the one he most enjoys imagining, Cross indulges in something he admits "isn't particularly clever" and is "crass and disrespectful." But a bigger complaint is that this pornographically violent vision is so childish it might make a viewer feel slightly guilty about his own daydreams, which may well be just as vile and impotence-fueled. Surely that's not the comedian's intent. Or has the new father developed a forgiving attitude toward selfish, whiny humans with no impulse control, and set out to quietly subvert the Resistance?
Production companies: Liberal Jewrun Media Productions, Field Recordings
Distributor: Comedy Dynamics
Director: Lance Bangs
Screenwriter-executive producer: David Cross
Producers: Lance Bangs, Kari Coleman
Director of photography: Stefan Weinberger
Editor: Molly Preston