Casey Affleck's fly-on-the-wall documentary follows Joaquin Phoenix from his apparent breakdown in 2008 to his reappearance as a hip-hop artist under the tutelage of P Diddy.
Is it or isn't it? Well, casey Affleck's long-promised “documentary” about Joaquin Phoenix's apparent public meltdown of 2008 has a heavy whiff of hoax about it. Starting with the actor's anguished claims that he has lost his sense of identity, followed by his supposedly off-the-cuff decision to announce that he is quitting acting for good, the film follows his attempts to redefine his career as a rap artist, with a little help from hip-hop legend P Diddy.
The more explicitly Borat-style scenes work best, when the film's bloated, dazed star is clumsily interacting with his peers (Diddy, Affleck, Letterman), but less arresting are those in which he raves, snorts coke, rents hookers and, most creepily, sobs like a baby. A send-up of celebrity culture it may be, and, as such, it works very well. But remember this: when they punk us, it's satire, but when we do it to them, we get arrested.
Affleck's meta-satire riffs amusingly on celebrity culture without hitting too many faux-doc highs.