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Denis Leary
No Cure For Cancer
cast: Denis Leary, with Chris Phillips and Adam Roth

director: Ted Demme

60 minutes (18) 1992
BMG DVD Regions 2 + 4 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Rob Marshall
Sarcasm may indeed be the lowest form of wit, but comedian turned actor Denis Leary has honed it to the sharpness of a cutthroat razor, and he lashes out with it at lightning speed. He's the star quarterback of US shock comedy, scoring cheap shots and low blows in a sneak attack on six-pack Americana. He switches from a sustained mania that alarms even him, to sardonic mock horror in a scathing but admirable rant against the political correctness of drugs and alcohol and assorted pop culture icons: "...the Jacksons are dysfunctional? - Not the Jacksons!"
Born in Boston in the late 1950s, Leary's brand of macho stand-up grew out of his fast-talking and acidic performances at college. Later, he appeared on MTV with similarly unrestrained monologues, but also did tame adverts for sportswear items. This popular one-man show (a West End and Broadway hit) was written while Leary lived in London for a year. He says: "I'm gonna get a tracheotomy, so I can smoke two cigarettes at the same time... I'll be Tracheotomy Man!" (I recall they actually used that idea in a horror movie, I think it was one of the Hellraiser films.)
   Vegetarians, non-smokers, hypocrites, joggers and French-Canadians, beware! Fitness freaks - go and hide your Stairmaster. Leary spouts angry, beer-supping, meat-eating, unfiltered outrage at everything from male sensitivity to capitalism. Ten years on, Leary's still a great act... After a few false starts, such as his cameos in Demolition Man, where he aggressively rips through a key expository scene to the bemused Stallone, and National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (both 1993), his film career moved up a level with roles in the political satire, Wag The Dog (1997), and animated feature A Bug's Life (1998). You know you've made it in Hollywood when they'll cast you for your voice alone.
   DVD extras: just an index with 11 scenes. Not even a biography or interview. At least the raspy guitars on two songs (I'm an Asshole, and Everything is Horrible), that open and close the show, sound better in Dolby digital than they do on video.