Mike (Austin Powers) Myers' debut as director is a documentary about a talent agent. The choice of subject matter is perhaps the last word in self-referentiality, though it's not clear whether the titular Gordon ever represented Myers, who plainly regards him as a friend.
In Yiddish, a mensch is a person of integrity and honour, and the film repeatedly explains how prodigiously Gordon embodied those virtues. But some viewers may think that the documented actions (creating a rush-hour traffic jam in London; complaining anonymously to police that his client Alice Cooper was indecently exposing himself in the hope that Cooper would be arrested and the kids would flock to his shows) smack more of savvy opportunism than anything else. At one point, he tells Myers that having under-age girls in stars' hotel suites was "a bad look" and is slightly taken aback when the interviewer adds "and wrong".
Still there's no denying that the man who stumbled into the business by selling dope to Joplin and Hendrix ("Are you Jewish?" the latter asks. "You should be a manager") has some stories to tell. They whizz by so fast that at times the film feels like a trailer for itself and the digital trickery that has long-dead people appearing to mouth the words in interviewees' voiceovers quickly irritates.
Most of the stories involve Cooper (though Gordon's risk-taking work for white-bread songstress Anne Murray and soul singer Teddy Pendergrass make for entertaining digressions). But the welter of talking heads, most of whom adopt a sly, I-ain't-telling tone, lend the film a self-congratulatory smugness.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
If the film is often pure hagiography, it's rescued by the huge charm of its subject, whose present-day interviews reveal a figure of compassion and humility. No one seems particularly hip to the irony that he spent his life giving his clients the fame that would destroy them, but they can hardly blame him for that. Whether he should be forgiven for inventing the idea of the celebrity chef is another matter entirely.
Director: Mike Myers
Running time: 82 mins
Rating: M (violence, offensive language, drug use, nudity, sexual references)
Verdict: Outrageously entertaining hagiography.