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The Ben Stiller Show (Special 2-Disc Set)

4.1 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Janeane Garofalo, Ben Stiller, Andy Dick, Bob Odenkirk
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Ages 14 and over
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
  • Release Date: Dec 2 2003
  • Run Time: 299 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00008PHCU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,012 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Ben Stiller Show, The (Dbl DVD)


For its brief and shining moment--12 aired episodes, to be exact--The Ben Stiller Show, which aired on Fox in 1992, recaptured the anarchic spirit and subversively funny voice of first-season Saturday Night Live and SCTV. More too-hip-for-the-room than ahead of its time, the show suffered dismal ratings and was unceremoniously cancelled. It then went on to win an Emmy for best writing and attract a fervent following, enhanced by the fact that the series has seldom been syndicated. This long-awaited DVD release fills not a void, but an abyss. To watch Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick, and a pre-Mr. Show Bob Odenkirk at the dawn of their mostly unconventional careers, romp in the show's opening is akin to watching the Beatles frolic on that football field in A Hard Day's Night. Stiller and company's pitch-perfect and intimately observed skewering of movies, television, and show business convention could be exhilarating, as witness "Woody Allen's Bride of Frankenstein" (you'll never watch another Allen film with a straight face again), "Cape Munster," with Stiller as a psychopathic and vengeful Eddie Munster, "Skank," a potent comment on the crass programming that was initially Fox's stock in trade, and even brilliant riffs on the seminal reality series Cops, which re-imagine the series in witch-hysteric Salem, Massachussetts, ancient Egypt, and medieval times.

In addition to the cast's uncanny impersonations (Stiller's Bono, Tom Cruise, Bruce Springsteen, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Bruce Willis, and Garofalo's Juliette Lewis), The Ben Stiller Show was home to a gallery of recurring characters--agent Michael Pheret, the No, No, No Guy--who, thankfully, SNL producer Lorne Michaels was not around to parlay into godawful films. The topical humor can't help but date some of the material (the show is a veritable Trivial Pursuit of pop culture references, from The Partridge Family to Beverly Hills 90210, but the brilliance of the writing and sheer abandon of the performances are still a joy to behold. --Donald Liebenson

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Tsk Tsk, you have to be fake right? It's a gag. A joke. Saying that Ben Stiller rocks in Starsky and Hutch but "you don't know what happened here" is like saying Don Knotts kicked a** on 3's Company, but what's with all this Andy Griffeth crap??? Ok that's a bad example because Don Knotts is perpetually funny no matter what, but get with the program man. The Ben Stiller Show is one of the few signs that the man is talented. If it weren't for that, I think the rest of us would all be sitting around trying to figure out who this Stiller guy was and why he keeps choosing to star in such lame, safe, banal movies like MEET THE PARENTS. We PUT UP with crap like that because we know from his writing on the Ben Stiller Show that he's a genius, who is forced to occassionally make crap in order to maintain his comfortable hollywood lifestyle. We forgive him these brainless dalliances because of the thoughtful, razor-sharp work that we know he's ACTUALLY capable of.
Then again, you were just kidding right, trying to make someone like me point out how wrong you were. Right???
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Format: DVD
The Ben Stiller Show had a number of excellent sketches as others have noted. I think the most memorable is the dark, hilarious Manson-as-Lassie Show; Bob Odenkirk is stellar. The cast members are very strong with Ben being perhaps the weakest straight-up comedian of the bunch. Andy D. seems under-utilized at times and Odenkirk's quirks should have been explored further. The downside for some people will be Ben's penchant for the obvious. Many sketches take the easy way out and too many rely on simple pop culture gags for their laughs. A talented cast doesn't need to hit softballs off of a tee. However many of the spoofs do make you laugh and that's the main purpose I suppose. I guess it depends on your idea of genius: do you prefer the topical-based humor of SNL or the highly inventive off-the-wall style of Kids in the Hall... much more creative but not always interested in the easy laugh. Bottom line is that this DVD is worth owning for fans of sketch-based comedy. Not a best of the genre but high quality for certain.
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Format: DVD
Ben Stiller started out as a great satirical comedian-- there is some depth to the work in some of these sketches. I'm sorry to say a depth that is sorely LACKING in just about every thing else Ben Stiller has done after this show. It's ironic how successful he became with much lesser work. Many of these sketches are very time-senstive, you may have trouble remembering the zeitgeist of the early 90's necessary to get some of the funny. For example, the obnoxious theme restraunts that were the subject of the PJ O'pootertoofs sketches have thankfully died out but you kind of need to remember them to get those sketches. Although the rampant, bizarre use of Charlie Manson in talk shows up to the early 90s isn't an absolute requirement to get the dark humor of the "Ask Manson" material. However, some of the other send-ups such as the excellent recurring COPS material only requires a general knowledge of the show-- and are classics.
Two other classic send ups that I'd like to see again are the Woody Allen with the movie monsters, and a Cape Fear parody with a grown Eddie Munster as the lead.
Ben Stiller was a good impersonator, too. His Bono was pegged perfectly, for instance. The Bruce Springsteen send up of old stories of Bruce going into small clubs for impromptu performances was hillarious in its increasing exagerations.
Too bad the cast didn't continue with the high quality they showed in this short lived show. (Just my opinion, of course.)
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Format: DVD
I remember being wowed when this show originally aired. When Comedy Central re-ran all 13 episodes around 2000, I eagerly taped them all. But, when I re-watched them, I wondered what had impressed me so much previously. Don't get me wrong, the show isn't a total washout but it's far, far less funny than I remember it being. Despite having a top-notch cast and great writers, the material is horribly dated and questionable pacing/direction sinks a lot of clever scenes. That's the other thing: many of the sketches ARE clever but they're not very FUNNY. This is no fault of the cast's. Indeed, there is a vibrance and energy to the performances of Odenkirk, Garofalo, Dick, and Stiller. They clearly realized this show was their big break (or at least, a good stepping stone to their careers) and they make the most of it. The linking material with the cast and the guest stars is lackluster but negligible. Perhaps it is the fact that everyone went on to produce much better work (Odenkirk with "Mr. Show," head writer Judd Apatow with "Freaks & Geeks," Garofalo with her standup, Dick with his ickier/more out-of-control antics in the late '90s, and Stiller in films) that makes looking back on this show a let down. I was going to give it a two star rating but, out of respect to the talent involved and considering the show DOES have it's moments of hilarity, I'm giving it three. This title is of more historical interest than sheer entertainment value. For gut-busting sketch comedy, stick with "Mr. Show with Bob & David," "Monty Python's Flying Circus," "The Kids in the Hall," and, if they ever release it on DVD, "SCTV Network."
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