Story: Comedians Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo dispense relationship advice both plentiful and disturbing, using the rather unfortunate model of their own failed celebrity romance as the basis of their words of wisdom. Stiller later goes off on tangents involving new-age affirmations and an attempt to discover himself on a cross-country trip. Garofalo takes well-earned potshots at the Hollywood concept of what makes people attractive.
Review: Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo’s vocalization of their own Feel This Book self-help spoof does a rare thing – it exceeds the potential and enjoyment of the original medium when performed vocally.
That said, it’s not stand-up comedy. It’s a bit long-winded for that. It is, however, a sterling parody of the earnest “trust us, we know better than you do” tone of many a self-help book on tape. Stiller in particular takes many a swipe at that particular medium, especially with his “fastermations” – a spoof of the popular “affirmation” tehnique – in which new-age music backs his meditations on such things as drunkenness, using the rest room, and masturbation. His journey of self-illumination across this great land of ours is also a highlight, as he makes it to the midwest before calling home for help.
Garofalo’s material is equally enlightening, with one particular chapter, “I Love You – Sovereignty Is Mine!,” illustrating the frequent phenomenon of someone ending up as the dominant player in any given relationship. Scary thing is, she’s absolutely right. Someone always does. She makes an analogy between this phenomenon and storming European countries in WWII. I know I’ve felt like Poland a time or two.
Overall, it’s a beautiful thing, something which used to keep me awake and laughing my butt off in the days of my 17-hour Wisconsin-to-Arkansas excursions.
Authors: Janeane Garofalo, Ben Stiller
Publisher: Harper Audio
Total running time: 2:23:14