The Austin Chronicle

Live From SXSW's Screening Room

By Rachel Proctor May, March 14, 2003, Screens


D: Nancy Savoca.

Documentary Feature Special Screenings, Regional Premiere

As comedian Reno lets fly the irreverent opening salvos of Rebel Without a Pause, her stand-up routine about September 11 filmed by Nancy Savoca, it's virtually impossible to believe that within half an hour, a recording of "God Bless America" will be making the woman cry. The schlocky Celine Dion version, no less. That contradiction is at the heart of Rebel Without a Pause, Reno's tragicomic musings on what to pack when fleeing disaster (top of list: vibrator) and what it means to be an American in scary times. Reno's account of her activities the morning the twin towers fell a few blocks from her apartment is nothing short of gut-busting, but as her routine takes her out of lower Manhattan and into foreign policy, the mood dims considerably. Though her sandpaper vocal chords and hyperkinetic gesticulations keep things peppy, the longer the dumb-Bush and general Ashcroft jokes keep coming, the more it seems it's not laughter she's after, but tears. (CC, 3/14, 9:45pm)

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