Film historian and reviewer Leonard Maltin plays himself in this fake documentary about the discovery of the work of filmmaker Colin McKenzie in New Zealand. McKenzie's bread and butter, Maltin tells us, was Stan the Man, a physical comedian who paid McKenzie to record his exploits, enabling the filmmaker to sock away money for his true life's work, a silent feature about Salome and John the Baptist made secretly with a cast of thousands. In a phony interview Maltin describes Stan as “pathetically unfunny,” inadvertently coining the perfect quote for this 1995 movie written and directed by Peter Jackson (Heavenly Creatures) and Costa Botes. Jackson and Botes also play themselves, as do Sam Neill and Miramax's Harvey Weinstein, whose deadpan self-mockery is less amusing than it should be because of the tiresome context. In fact, all of the interviews are too stiff to be either convincing or humorous, and the movie fails to parody or even evoke the conventions of documentary with any insight or cleverness. Its only interest lies in the excerpts from McKenzie's “restored” epic presented at the end.
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