Nothing in this unauthorized bio-cartoon is as enlightening as a quick perusal of a NATIONAL ENQUIRER scoop or as revealing as one of the housewife-diva's old stand-up routines. Capitalizing on the media frenzy generated by the domestic goddess, this dragged-out soap opera accomplishes the
one thing Roseanne fears most; it makes her seem so pitiably boring you can't wait to focus your attention elsewhere.
Cutting back and forth between Roseanne's unrivalled status as sitcom innovator and her troubled youth as a Jewish child in Mormon-dominated Salt Lake City, this film is a show-biz odyssey that roots Roseanne's comic art in her dysfunctional family. One day, teenaged Rosie (Dawn Zeek) gets a
reality check when her prankish way of escaping her blue collar averageness--by walking down the highway with her head covered--results in a smash-up and near-fatal head injury. Rebelling against conformity even more after this self-inflicted brush with death, adult Roseanne (Denny Dillon) becomes
a vocational hitch-hiker and casual hippie but abandons commune life for marriage to fellow rebel Bill Pentland (John Walcutt). Dissatisfaction with child-rearing and husband-pleasing ignites a feminist streak fueled by Roseanne's like-minded lesbian sister Geraldine (Jocelyn O'Brien).
Initial voice-of-the-people success in stand-up venues propels Roseanne and her blue collar kvetching into comedy club stardom, Cable TV success, and a sitcom whose vision she protects like a tigress. In addition to needling TV execs, the powerful Roseanne also discards her husband in favor of a
coke-snorting, opportunist writer-performer, Tom Arnold (David Graff). In her psychotic need for the media limelight, Roseanne not only cuts Geraldine out of her empire but jumps on the recovered memory bandwagon and declares herself an incest survivor. Wising up about her manipulative playmate
Arnold, Roseanne contemplates her mega-stardom and steps up her abuse of everyone unlucky enough to be in her personal and professional orbit.
Surely, the seminal figure of Roseanne Barr-Pentland-Arnold-Thomas, who brought a fresh voice to TV sitcom suburbs, deserves more than this cursory, sophomoric peek beneath her bedsheets. Those intrigued by this offbeat star's obsession with notoriety would be well advised to read her sister
Geraldine's hatchet job, My Sister Roseanne, which revealingly outlines Roseanne's psychological turmoil against her conquest of a show biz not used to the power-trips of uppity outsiders. What this flick does is to cut and paste a portrait of an abrasive Queen Bee and her insidious court jester
Tom and then casts these juicy conceptions with second-banana comics Dillon and Graff in roles demanding first-rate, legitimate actors.
All the unpleasant scenes from family life are shrieked out by the participants as if they were playing comedy sketches about domestic incompatibility, but none of the melodramatic playlets has a punchline. It's oddly distancing to see Dillon fail to mimic Roseanne's stand-up edge and then try to
behave like the caustic TV-Roseanne when she's bitching at her relatives or leaning on henchman Arnold. Since none of the re-enacted career triumphs have any comic bounce, and since all Roseanne's personal downers are interpreted with the same inappropriate wavering comedic tone, this tell-little
experience is a glum one. The wrong people were hired to bring this monster-movie about the American Dream to life.(Adult situations, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1995
- Rating: NR
- Review: Nothing in this unauthorized bio-cartoon is as enlightening as a quick perusal of a NATIONAL ENQUIRER scoop or as revealing as one of the housewife-diva's old stand-up routines. Capitalizing on the media frenzy generated by the domestic goddess, this dragg… (more)