Certifiably Jonathan | Chicago Reader

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Rated NR · 85 minutes · 2007

Following the success of Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, someone has decided to distribute this misguided 2007 documentary about the great Jonathan Winters. The first half is reasonably funny and informative, with director James David Pasternak focusing on the comedian's long career as a fine artist (begun in the 50s at the Dayton Art Institute) and cutting in clips of Winters as he became a crazed and unpredictable comic fireball on network TV in the 60s. But then Pasternak purports to realize Winters's dream of hanging his freaky, colorful, surrealist paintings in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This story line turns out to be a put-on, and the latter half of the movie is a tedious mockumentary exercise pulling in an assortment of Winters's famous fans (Robin Williams, Sarah Silverman, Rob Reiner, Nora Dunn, Jeffrey Tambor). Pasternak touches on some of the more interesting aspects of the comedian's life (his stint in the marines, his hospitalization for mental illness, his marriage of more than 50 years), but only enough to make you realize the real story has gotten away.
Director: Jim Pasternak

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