Dennis Miller – All In

Dennis Miller – All In (2005)
HBO Home Video
Cast: Dennis Miller

Dennis Miller, a comedian known for his trademark culturally referenced rants, comes to the Vegas stage at Caesar's Palace, doing his stand-up routine which was filmed for HBO in 2005.

Most of us recognize Dennis Miller from his stint on "Saturday Night Live" and his short lived self titled HBO series. I used to like Miller's routine – a non stop barrage of rants and references to hot button issues, and though some of style is present here, the Dennis Miller of old is gone. He is simply not on his game anymore.

The comedian covers a wide range of topics, from fat people and Walmart, the environment, immigration, pedophiles and politics in general – all in his droll, dry personality, by using offbeat and sometimes bizarre cultural references that Miller expects you to know what and whom he is referring to. (Know how "Family Guy" uses bizarre references? Miller's schtick is peppered with them – only without the humor) I'm not saying his act is bad, it's just more observational than funny.
I was interested throughout, but didn't laugh at all.

I think the problem is, that after 9/11, Miller changed his routine and now fills his act with way too many political diatribes with the punch line never arriving – a Lewis Black, he is not. Miller has trapped himself by taking a political side. Comics should remain independent when doing their routines – equal opportunity offenders who can poke holes in the obvious flaws on both sides of the political spectrum.

Miller sold himself out just after 9/11 and jumped on the Bush bandwagon – five years later it's proven to be a bad move. There were times when Miller tried to crack Bush jokes and even say something positive about John Kerry's military service, but his partisan audience would have none of it.

In Miller's routine, all Democrats are buffoons and Republicans are saviors. There were many moments I found my finger moving toward the "Fast-forward" button, but I managed to control myself and sit through the entire presentation – a mere one hour that felt like two. Clearly, Miller has lost his edge and sardonic wit. Hopefully, the Dennis Miller of old will come back to us someday.

HBO debuts "Dennis Miller – All In" in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is very nice, with perfectly balanced contrast which shows off a rich color palette for being shot on video. Slight grain is evident when the camera pans to the audience. No edge enhancement, dust or debris was noticed.

Audio is presented here in a 2.0 Dolby Surround track. Since this is a dialogue driven show, the center channel comes in clear and distinct, while the front left and right speakers picked up the audience sounds quite nicely. There isn't anything in the way of bonus features on the disc.

While Dennis Miller certainly is intelligent, I have no problem with intellectual and political humor as long as it's balanced. In my opinion, he doesn't deliver the goods in a funny manner.

However, if you're a fan of Miller's style, this could certainly be worth a look for his fan base – just don't expect anything new and fresh in the way of material.