Without You I'm Nothing 1.0 stars

The cinematic souping-up of Sandra Bernhard's one-woman stage show puts her in a format to do a lot of different things, but it doesn't quite put her in a certifiable movie. Ostensibly she has returned from New York to L.A. after the close of her one-woman show (invariably referred to as her "smash-hit one-woman show"), to appear in an ill-defined nightclub in front of a murderously unamused live audience (with whom many moviegoers are apt to identify strongly). There are geographically disruptive, and nominally "cinematic," inserts of a black woman (presumably a sort of photographic negative of Bernhard, an alter ego) in a variety of locales, as well as one of Bernhard herself in bed with a black man. Some of the comic material -- such as the lesbian twist on the old Billy Paul tune, "Me and Mrs. Jones," or the routine about a Jewish girl dreaming of a Gentile Christmas, or the ear-catching use of brand-names and proper nouns -- sounds as if it might play all right in a Spartan stand-up act. But the various framing and/or distancing devices, not to mention the corner-of-the-eye vagueness of these devices, cloud up the relationship between the joke-teller and her listener. This invites a view of her as something more than a mere entertainer; as nothing less, to be frank, than a mental case. Directed by John Boskovich. 1990.

Duncan Shepherd

  • Rated R

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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