'The Fluffy Movie': Film Review

The Fluffy Movie - H 2014
Anthony Nunez/Open Road Films

The Fluffy Movie - H 2014

The personal material shines brightest in this consistently amusing if not hilarious stand-up comedy film.

Popular Latino comedian Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias makes his debut comedy concert film.

Popular Mexican-American comedian Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias brings his stand-up act to the big screen in The Fluffy Movie. Trading on the popularity of his DVDs and Comedy Central specials, the plus-sized comic delivers a solid set of often highly personal material that's consistently amusing even if it never quite hits the level of hilarity. Although the film will surely please his devoted fans, it doesn't seem poised to reach the breakout box-office success of Kevin Hart's recent efforts.

The film begins with a dispensable prologue set in Tijuana, Mexico, depicting his mother meeting his dashing mariachi singer father and his childhood, during which he was inspired to become a comedian after watching a VHS tape of Eddie Murphy Raw. (Tommy Chong and Ron White make inconsequential cameos in the segment directed by Jay Lavender.)

From there it's a straightforward concert film, fluidly directed by Manny Rodriguez and edited by Dave Harrison and Tom Costain. Filmed during the comic's Unity Through Laughter tour, The Fluffy Movie shows the comic performing at San Jose's HP Pavilion on an elaborate set featuring a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge.

His nickname referring to his excess poundage, Iglesias, clad in his trademark Hawaiian shirt, begins the show with a lengthy routine about having recently lost 100 pounds — he had gone up to 445 — after being informed by his doctor that he would be dead within two years. His descriptions of a consultation with a surgeon about gastric bypass surgery and his subsequent effort to lose the weight without entirely cutting out his beloved fast food is sure to resonate with more than a few viewers.

More dependent on storytelling than laugh-out-loud punch lines, of which there are few, he proceeds to deliver entertaining bits about a trip to India, getting hit on by a gay man at a bar and his refusal to buy his teenage stepson a new cell phone. The latter leads to an amusing segue comparing today's high-tech video games to the primitive 80's era Nintendo Entertainment System.

Iglesias is a likeable presence, and his fluid delivery, complete with spot-on accents and sound effects, is consistently engaging. Where he really shines is his ability to invest emotional depth in his material, best illustrated in the final segment in which he describes his tense reunion with his father after 30 years. "Bay Area, it's about to get real," he advises as he launches into his story, and he holds true to the promise, resulting in genuine empathy as well as laughs. If he's able to generate similarly strong personal material in the future, his career prospects look bright.

Production: Gulfstream Pictures

Cast: Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias

Director: Manny Rodriguez

Producers: Mike Karz, William Bindley, Gabriel Iglesias, Joe Meloche, Ron DeBlasio

Executive producers: John Bravakis, Stu Schreiberg, Carl Beyer, Jay Lavender

Director of photography: Larry Blanford

Editors: Dave Harrison, Tom Costain

Production designer: Bruce Ryan

Rated PG-13, 101 min.