(director: Betty Thomas; screenwriters: Len Blum/Michael Kalesniko/ based on the book by Howard Stern; cinematographer: Walt Lloyd; editor: Peter Teschner; music: ; cast: Howard Stern (himself), Robin Quivers (herself), Mary McCormack (Alison Stern), Fred Norris (himself), Jackie Martling (himself), Gary Dell’Abate (Himself),Richard Prtnow (Ben Stern), Kelly Bishop (Ray Stern), Paul Giamatti (Kenny); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Ivan Reitman; Paramount Pictures; 1997)
“Enough fake humility to make you barf if not a fan.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
If you care to know more about the popular but controversial New York radio shock jock Howard Stern, his Horatio Algier story is taken from his 1993 autobiography. It tells his story in an uncritical but lighthearted entertaining manner. Betty Thomas (“I Spy”/”Doctor Dolittle”) helms this self-serving biopic by letting Howard, playing himself, do his thing. It’s written by Len Blum and Michael Kalesniko. Too bad it’s filled with unfunny fart jokes, bad taste and enough fake humility to make you barf if not a fan.
It covers Howard’s middle-class upbringing in Roosevelt Long Island, his distant relationship with his radio engineer dad (Richard Portnow) and possessive Jewish mom (Kelly Bishop). It follows the nerdy Howard through Boston University and his meeting there with Allison (Mary McCormack), whom he marries while on the radio in Westchester County. At a Hartford radio station he meets Fred Norris, his future sound effects man. At a DC station he meets his black long-time sidekick Robin Quivers. When Howard becomes outrageous on the air using sexually explicit material, he irks station managers but gets high ratings as his show moves to NBC in New York City. Much is made of his turbulent dealings with Kenny (Paul Giamatti), a programming executive at the station and of Howard sticking it to him by becoming in 1985 the top rated morning radio show despite his battles with the censors.
We’re led to believe that the on-the-air Howard is a wild man, but at home is a doting family man.
REVIEWED ON 5/30/2017 GRADE: C+