Movie Review - The Fluffy Movie

Gabriel Iglesias in "The Fluffy Movie"
Gabriel Iglesias is a Mexican-American comedian. A lot of people might have first seen him in 2002 during the first of his three appearances on The Tonight Show. The following five years, he toured and had several TV roles. Comedy Central gave him his first standup special Gabriel Iglesias: Hot and Fluffy (2007). He's since done two more. He was so successful that the cable network also greenlit his own series Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand Up Revolution in 2011. This summer, it goes into its third season. This film is kind of the kick-off.

Much in the way Louie C.K. did this year on his TV series, Iglesias hires a younger actor to play himself in a more autobiographical, opening sequence that depicts key moments in his back story. One moment includes how young Iglesias secretly and not so secretly attained a R-rated movie, that movie being Eddie Murphy Raw, a clear inspiration for Iglesias moving into his 38th year.

Like Eddie Murphy or any comic who has done a concert film like this, Iglesias stands on stage with a nice backdrop of San Francisco in front of hundreds of people and delivers a 90-minute or so set of jokes and funny personal anecdotes. Maybe the first third is the weakest, as Iglesias takes his time to warm to his really strong or dare I say controversial material.

Some comics that I've seen recently like Trevor Noah, Kathy Griffin and Sarah Silverman don't waste time getting to the controversial material. Bill Cosby recently did a standup special on Comedy Central called Bill Cosby: Far From Finished, which didn't waste time per se, but it took a slow time before it got into a nice groove.

Iglesias spends the first third talking about his weight issues and the fact that he was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. Iglesias appears here pretty average in his body weight. He says he was at once 445-pounds. Unless you've seen his previous specials, you won't get a true sense of his loss, but his journey to weight loss is well told.

Iglesias' key talent is voices. He may or may not be a good impressionist, but he comes out the gate with doing female or effeminate voices. He doesn't seem to make the connection verbally, but he makes a voice that feels very much like Jabba the Hut from Return of the Jedi. It was slightly amusing.

Things turn a corner when Iglesias starts telling random, drunk stories. One of which involves a gay man. It made me feel a little uncomfortable. A lot of horrible stereotypes are employed, but Iglesias is able to bring it home, making his drunk story not ultimately homophobic, even though homophobia is its basic premise.

However, it's from this point that Iglesias rockets upward. The laughter rocketed upward as well. Like with gay men, Iglesias skirts the line with people from India between offending by using a stereotype and actually making honest, somewhat respectful observations. He somehow balances and makes it work. He starts by being self-deprecating toward his own people, fellow Mexicans, and before joking about Indians basically says how they're all essentially the same.

The best part of his routine here and what ends up being absolute comedy gold are the material about Iglesias' step son Frankie as well as the material about Iglesias' absentee father Jesús. Iglesias draws amazing and really insightful comparisons that show how he parents was a result of how he was parented, or rather his actions as a father dominoes from his own father's actions or lack thereof.

His exploration of his parenthood is just back-to-back jokes that are excellent and probably are more akin to Bill Cosby than Eddie Murphy. If anything, there is a nice fusion of the two in Iglesias' spirit. Yet, Iglesias firmly establishes himself as his own man that stands uniquely.

He concludes with what is probably the most dramatic, tense and moving story that has perhaps ever been conveyed in a concert film like this in theaters or on TV. Iglesias is able to inject humor along the way, which are like cherries on top of a very compelling story, and the comedian delivers is so well that you can't help but fall for Iglesias.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for suggestive material and sexual references.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 41 mins.


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