Ryder, P.I. (1986) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

You don't want to see this movie, but is interesting in several ways,

About 15 years ago, various stand-up comics in the New York area decided to extend their media presence by making their own movie and playing all the parts in it. That film was Ryder, P.I.

The movie has sort of a basic plotline, but it's not much to write home about, and they often ignore it in order to work in somebody's schtick. 

The real problem is that there is a major difference between comic actors and stand-up comics, not just in the way the present a character, but more important in the way they react to one another. For example, you go into a computer school to apply for some training, and the administrator of the school alternates between a Ralph Kramden voice and an Ed Norton voice. The guy did good impersonations, so they wrote it into the character. How are you supposed to react?

You see the problem? Are the other characters supposed to treat it as if it was normal, and just press on? Or treat it as if the guy was insane? Do you laugh like a crowd at the improv, or do you just react normally? They couldn't work these matters out satisfactorily. In this specific case, they laughed as if the routine were side-splitting, even though the reactions were obviously phony. Oh, he was pretty funny, but they certainly had heard it all before, so the reactions weren't spontaneous, and they weren't actors, so it was unnatural. Then they said stuff like "that guy is crazy".


 If you're following along, there was an additional problem with that scene. It had nothing, literally nothing to do with the plot. In fact, it distracted the characters from pursuing the main plotline for about 10 minutes, after which they walked out and said something like "what a way to pass a day, applying for a computer school run by a crazy guy". Now we return you to our normal plotline.

That was just an example, and not one off-center from the rest of the film. It went pretty much like that.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • sorta widescreen (1.66:1)

  • a few Howard Stern outtakes

The other major problem was in the presentation. Some of these guys did OK in character, but others were absurdly broad. Like the P.I.'s assistant, who was about as subtle as Jerry Lewis impersonating Brother Theodore, and came up with a portrayal that would be completely offensive to anyone who objects to making fun of the mentally challenged.

The most fun in the movie was the fact that Howard Stern, in moustache and afro, played a news announcer on television station WIMP, and railed against the fact that he had to read off printed notes instead of a teleprompter and that he had to do the news next to the set of a cooking show. There are also several minutes of outtakes from that same scene, In which Howard tried several different approaches, made some flubs, etc. Stern was just getting started at the time as a New York shock jock.

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.9, but based on only 24 votes, probably from the guys who made the film
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D. It isn't really a film. It's some schtick loosely tied together by the thinnest of threads.

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