Though most recognize Zak Penn as being the guy who writes all those superhero flicks (X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Incredible Hulk), he also has a wicked sense of humor. Back when he was still writing with Adam Leff, the two penned the hilarious cult hit PCU, and three years ago Penn teamed up with filmmaker Werner Herzog on the mockumentary Incident at Loch Ness. Now, he's back in the director's chair with one of two poker flicks playing at this year's Tribeca Film Festival; the other being the Curtis Hanson film Lucky You. Featuring an all-star cast of talent, and some of the funniest on-screen bits I've seen in a long time, The Grand marks Penn's second mockumentary -- a no-holds-barred look at the highly-comedic (at times), yet painful world of high-stakes tournament poker.
For me, it was a film that by far topped anything Christopher Guest has worked on recently, and though there are times when Penn gives his actors a little too much freedom -- to a point where the joke has already run its course -- The Grand ultimately ends up being a rare gem; I guess you could say it's the Royal Flush of comedies. But like with most mockumentaries, the majority of credit has to be given to the pic's cast. Here we have a talented group of veteran comedic actors who, when let loose, managed to deliver the goods in bulk. It didn't matter what part of the story they were up to or who was on screen, these people put so much funny into their performances that if you're not blinded by the tears your laughter has created, then I'd say something is definitely wrong. Either your sense of humor left you for another woman, or you just didn't get it. And if it's the latter then, well, you're really missing out -- because, folks, this truly is what comedy is all about.