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Generally favorable reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Henry Phillips, a hapless modern day troubadour who grinds his way through the heartland, living out of his car and singing his twisted satirical songs to anyone who will listen. After a booking mishap involving a Christian fundraiser, he decides he's hit rock bottom.
    Seeking to shake
    things up, he moves to L.A. where his luck changes overnight. Thanks less to his inept manager than to a wild case of mistaken identity, he falls backwards into a string of packed gigs, a record deal and even the promise of love. But he who lives by the whimsy of show business dies by it, and reality hits him like a fist in the face: an innocent miscommunication over a bagel starts a vicious rumor about him in the tabloids. Luckily, somewhere between rock bottom and the middle of nowhere lies the perfect terrain for his dark and hilarious songs. (Viens Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Oct 20, 2010
    The result is a shaggy rise-and-fall story that is deceptively well-wrought, playing at times like an extremely hip, deep-access concert film.
  2. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Oct 22, 2010
    See his movie now, brag about your discerning taste for undiscovered talent later.
  3. Reviewed by: Frank Scheck
    Oct 21, 2010
    Although its sendup of L.A.'s shallow, self-absorbed show business culture is not exactly revelatory, the film does deliver solid laughs, many of them thanks to Philips' wittily provocative, surprisingly hostile confessional ditties.
  4. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    Oct 20, 2010
    Punching the Clown mirrors Henry's act: a minor triumph whose cult following doesn't yet know it exists.
  5. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Oct 20, 2010
    While never uproarious, Punching the Clown exudes the clever, warped sincerity of its star, eschewing uppercuts for a series of playful jabs.
  6. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Oct 22, 2010
    Every aspiring performer will appreciate Gregori Viens' unassuming comedy, which cheerfully skewers industry pretensions and media-fueled trends.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Oct 21, 2010
    Holding things together are Mr. Phillips's quiet charm and his songs, which really are funny.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Feb 18, 2012
    We really enjoyed this. Much of the story seemed like it must have been inspired by real life. The script was tight, and the humor flowed naturally out of the situations. I'd love to know more about the guy who wrote the songs, co-wrote the script, and played the main character - I'm curious how autobiographical the story was. Expand