I'm sure I'm going to piss some people off this time around. Little to my knowledge, it was my job to review 'Gabriel Iglesias: I'm Not Fat, I'm Fluffy,' and when the mysterious package was opened, I realized how truly doomed I was. I'm not a stand up comedy guy. Worse yet, I hate live music and laugh tracks due to the constant background chatter that makes it difficult for me to hear the show. And fans, even worse yet, before this review, I had never seen, or heard a single Gabriel Iglesias comedy routine or segment. So I was stuck in a no win scenario: enjoy it, and sound like a complete rookie, or dislike it, and be told "you don't get it because..." and whatever ending to said sentence, whatever variation, which eliminates the fact that, my goodness, I dared to have an opinion.
After missing (darn!) every episode of 'All That,' the fourth season of 'Last Comic Standing,' and the previous home video comedy release 'Hot and Fluffy' (which was recorded in my hometown), my first exposure to Iglesias left a lot to be desired. He may be "fluffy," but I really don't know if he's all that funny.
For this special, recorded in one night at the Plaza Theater in El Paso, Iglesias entertains a sold out crowd with his particular brand of comedy, heavy on impression and anecdotes as he wanders back and forth on stage. As he discusses his weight, food (directly related to his weight...), drunken escapades, his love life (and his experiences with his girlfriend's son Frankie), and experiences in El Paso for a little over an hour (with no gaps in coverage), Iglesias has the crowd hook, line, and sinker, hanging on his every word.
Perhaps if I spoke Spanish, I would have enjoyed this feature more. Sure, I get some of the slower spoken words, but as Iglesias starts going full speed between jokes for quick laughs or references, I have no problem admitting I'm as lost as a salad in Fluffy's dressing room. As only one line is subtitled (one that even non-Spanish speakers will catch, due to the particular obscenity used), those of us who are a bit less than bi-lingual miss out on quite a bit.
Of course, if you aren't from El Paso, you're going to miss out on plenty of references. Iglesias does sink to the cheap pops, and the jokes that work in any city with the change of just one word, a business or street name. It can be pretty embarrassing, really, especially when some of the early jokes equate to, basically, "hey, I know Paul Rodriguez! You all like him! Yeah, we're cool, so you should like me, too!" If you've never sat down to one of Iglesias' past acts, you're going to miss out on just as much it seems. His bit is quite heavy on his past experiences, particularly concerning his girlfriend and her child, to whom the show is dedicated. I can't imagine growing up knowing your life is being ridiculed (even lovingly) for money and entertainment, so in a few years, I do hope Mr. Iglesias pays for Frankie's therapy bills.
Perhaps I don't "get it," and I'm fine with that. One thing in particular that I don't get? Why name this feature after the fluffy joke, if you're not going to even make it, at all, save for referencing to yourself as it. It makes no fluffy sense. I suppose the audience doesn't care, as even the failed jokes draw reactions that border on lunacy. Iglesias has a wonderfully emotive face, I'll give him that, but that may be all I'll give him, based on this special. I don't see any real laugh out loud moments, let alone any viewers wanting to watch this again and again.
The Disc: Vital Stats
'Gabriel Iglesias: I'm Not Fat, I'm Fluffy' arrives on Blu-ray on a BD25 Single Layer disc from Paramount, held under a nice slipcover. There is no annoying pre-menu content, though the menu itself is pretty damn aggravating. A static shot similar to the cover art is no big deal, but the same fifteen second audio clip on loop, which then repeats as soon as you start the program, gets old real fast.
'I'm Not Fat, I'm Fluffy' on Blu-ray is given a 1080i AVC MPEG-4 encode that is enjoyable but hardly worthy of praise. Composited from only a few cameras at the El Paso show, we're given a slightly uneven picture quality that from shot to shot jumps around like those lovely ladies on trampolines from a Comedy Central show that was much funnier...but that's another story.
As soon as we see Iglesias pop out from behind the stage (like Godzilla emerging from behind a skyscraper...hey, he's the one pushing the fact that he's chunky!), we see a massive grain attack that obscures detail and color, though we don't get that appearance too often. The majority of the show is in the close up cam, which fares the best of all angles, as the black Hawaiian shirt and its details actually are clear, as well as the sweaty glaze covering Fluffy, giving the baby face as much detail as it has ever seen on video. Seriously, Babe Ruth sweated when he ate, and Gabriel is sweaty from the start, and not from hitting the treadmill, though sadly his sparkling details don't accentuate any depth or character. Shots that show Iglesias and his whole body fare much worse, as the blacks become a blur, clothing details are lacking, hair becomes just a clump, and skin shows no realism. Sadly, watching Iglesias' chicken legs you see some slight ringing, and there are some random blurs in the middle of longer shots.
'I'm Not Fat, I'm Fluffy' has two audio tracks: a linear PCM 2.0 mix, and the default Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Call me crazy, but I enjoyed the 5.1 mix better, since the audience sounds more intelligible (still not intelligent) spread out through the room, rather than crammed in the same speakers as the routine. Sure, there's some slight bass thump in the 2.0 mix that really isn't there in the other, but we're supposed to be right in the middle of the audience, or at least in the front row, and it doesn't sound like that, at all, in 2.0. It sounds more like canned laughter. Iglesias can occasionally be drowned out, even with his mic, due to the random cheap pops he elicits throughout the show. Still, a perfect sync, and some enjoyable reverberation make this track less than boring. It's appreciable, and little more. We're not talking about a show made to be bombastic, anyways.
I know, I'm hardly the target audience, but I could not get into this release. Iglesias may be funny to some, but he hardly seems at all amusing to me. The audience love the guy, but damn if I don't think his shtick gets old really fast, since it's the same thing over and over. This Blu-ray release is average: not great, not bad, and has a couple of extras. Like any comedy release, this one is definitely only for the fans. Newcomers should search YouTube and Comedy Central first.