In his new film GRAND THEl-T PARSONS, Jackass TV star JOHNNY KNOXVILLE plays Phil Kaufman, the manager of the legendary country musician Gram Parsons. Here he explains his involvement in this bizarre film, set after

Parsons’ death.

Phil Kaufman is an amazing character. Just the basic story of him kidnapping Gram’s body from LAX and trying to get out to Joshua Tree to burn the body, with all the wrecks and the police involvement and the stops for beer . . . it was an amazing story in itself. I read Phil Kaufman’s book, I think called The Road Mangler Deluxe, and he’s lived five lifetimes! His whole life should have a movie made of it, much less these two days. I mean, one funny thing from the book is that he recorded, I think, Charles Manson’s initial album. And I think he had a peripheral attachment to the Manson family . . . essentially he just hung out with him to hang out with the girls. He’s far too smart for Chuckles to get a hold of him mentally. I think Manson actually verbalised that to him once. He was like, ‘I just can’t . . . there’s no way I can get to you, Phil.’ But to make a short story long .

. . The funny part

in the book that Kaufman said he looked in the paper one day and realised he had humped all

the Manson girls. I mean, how can you not root for a guy like that? And then his little stint in prison. I think he called himself the worst drug smuggler ever. He did a little time and got out and started. I think he initially started helping out with the Rolling Stones, that’s where he met

Gram Parson.

The film’s essentially about one man keeping his word to his friend. I’m a huge Gram Parsons


The not at all untalented comic actor Ben Stiller has made a career out of playing put upon nerds. Working from an inspired script like the Farrelly brothers There's Something Aberrt Mary. this typecasting proves profitable for all. But here writer/ director John Zoo/ander Hamburg lazily re-works his earlier screenplay for Meet the Parents to fairly innocuous eftect. Stiller's comic potential is stalled. his familiar geek boy persona (this time round an anal retentive. compulsive obsesswe insurance man) is Joined by an equally typecast Jennifer Aniston. who in no way stretches herself to play a kooky girlfriend who might as well be named Rachel.

fan. They initially contacted me to come in to do a reading and I wasn’t available at the time, but I told the initial financiers to go F-themselves was was really excited when I heard they were making a movie about this story ‘cause it’s a famous story, a famous underground story. So immediately I had them send a script to me and I that for this film.


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Johnny Knoxville as Phil Kaufman in Grand Theft Parsons got started, and it was funny, I think the day we the anniversary of Gram’s death . . . the day we

started shooting this picture was, I think, Gram’s birthday - but a lot of things came together like

loved it, and I was like, wow, I really want to do it. I Grand Theft Parsons is released on the 79 Mar. To

Along came another formula relationship comedy

As is the way of this genre's formula. the initially mismatched pair are oddly attracted to one another. subsequently Winding each other up. splitting, but ultimately making up and Out.

Sticking to this well trodden path weiildn't be so bad if the jokes were good. But Stiller's Howard Hughes-like behaVioral quirks are exploited to the p0int of exhaustion With a series of bad taste gags: shooting hoops With a fat. hairy. sweaty opponent; getting up close and pe sonal with his boss in the exeCutive John. etc. In fact. only Alec Baldwin's cameo as Stiller‘s lewd. crude boss elicits fully fledged laughter. But then. cameo performances in rom- coms are often the best these films have to offer. (Miles Fielder) I General release from Fri 27 Feb.

We went through a lot to make this picture, really. We had early financing problems but we

win tickets to an exclusive early screening of this film. turn to page 36.


Here's a question: what would Hollywood comedy do without the alumni of the Saturday Night Live sketch show? Answer: improve considerably. While the SNL team has given us bona fide stars such as Bill Murray and Mike Myers. it's also unleashed Dana Carvey. Chris Farley. Tom Green and David Spade onto an unsuspecting world. Here the latter takes the lead in this story of a former child star desperate to reclaim his fame.

Preparing for an audition in a new Rob When Harry Met Sally . . . Reiner movie. Dickie deCides he needs to hire a surrogate family so that he can research having a normal childhood. Cue nostalgic cameos from former kiddie celebrities from the world of American TV (including members of The Brady Bunch. The Partridge Family and. of (:0urse. the man midget from Different Strokesl.

This uneven comedy pitches some smart gags in the direction of the diseased gnomic American fame machine. Yet the film's over-reliance on sentiment to affect Dickie's transformation from fame jtlllklO to caring. sharing nice guy (and the lovey-dovcy relationship between the former child star and his adopted mom) effectively strips Dickie Roberts of its only source of comedy: essentially Spade's singular knack for playing self-centred and completely unlikeable characters.

Judging by this ill-fated outing. Spade may just be at the beginning of a long sub (Eddie) Murphian quest to dig his own comedy grave. Just ask your former SNL collegiate Martin Short t/nnerspace) DaVid. he wrote the rule book (you shortarsel. (Jamie Russell)

I General release from Fri 20 Feb.

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