Part comedy, part dive bar concert film, there's a reason why Punching the Clown won the audience award at this year's Slamdance Film Festival (and has a chance to do the same at the Gen Art Film Festival): quite simply, it's just a damn good time. Based on the very real, very uncomfortable and very unfortunate life of up-and-coming comedic folksinger Henry Phillips, Punching the Clown is a low-budgeted ball of squishy hilarity that's easily digestible and destined to become an audience favorite. Following the screening I attended, director Gregori Viens said they were talking with different cable networks about making a deal to air the film on television with it cut up into episodic form. While I'm all in favor of getting this tasty nugget out there for all to see, someone has to pony up a little cash and chuck this sucker into theaters for at the very least a limited run. Punching the Clown is definitely a gotta-see-it-with-an-audience kinda flick.
And it feels awesome to say that without having to next mention some ludicrous amount of effects work, an obnoxious budget or a naked A-list actress. The film is like a buffet of comedy, with the audience member strolling through, sampling a set up, a pay off, a song, a cliched plot device and a little red meat along the way. You'll look at the guy next to you -- mouth full of the previous joke -- and you'll both nod knowingly and possibly high-five. That's the type of film it is; one of those with a tattoo that reads, "F*ck it, you're either with me or you're not"