Funnyman Jerry Stiller (ZOOLANDER, TV's THE KING OF QUEENS), Tim Matheson (VAN WILDER, ANIMAL HOUSE), Traci Lords (BLADE), and Fred Willard (AMERICAN WEDDING, A MIGHTY WIND) poke merciless fun at the overblown culture of H... more »ollywood in this award-winning comedy (Audience Award ?- Best Feature and Best Actor, HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival 2001). When TV?s Merv Griffin sues him, a frustrated commercial actor called "Milwaukee Steve" (Stephen Burrows) unwittingly stumbles into the notoriety he's longed for! As he rides the wave of undeserved popularity, Steve discovers that life in Hollywood?s fleeting limelight can be just as maddening as rejection! But even though a return to his childhood home of Milwaukee doesn?t give him what he?s looking for ... it might just get him what he needs! In the irreverent tradition of JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK, you?ll laugh out loud as this hilarious comedy dares to compare the insane business of Hollywood with the equally insane, but completely mundane, routine of Midwestern life!« less
tmarkus | janesville, WI, United States | 11/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a remarkably funny and scathingly sarcastic tale of a dreamer, "Milwaukee" Steve (Steve Burrows), who's bound and determined to make it in Hollywood as a writer/director. Locations are based between LA and Milwaukee, and the contrast couldn't be more ideal. Traci Lords is excellent as the unlikely love interest, as is the surprisingly well-known and first-rate supporting cast for an indie of Tim Matheson, (Otter in Animal House, playing a hyper-lunatic composite of every sleazy producer Milwaukee Steve's dealt with in Hollywood), Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Fred Willard and A.J Benza as Steve's hilarious ass-kissing and fair-weather-friend agents, even Abe Vigoda as a French Spy. We grew up in the Milwaukee area, so we couldn't get enough of hundreds of quirky location shoots, eccentric corner quarter-tap bars and hangouts (Hollar House, tons more) that truly made the city fun and famous, and it doesn't matter if you're not from the area -- we brought friends with that weren't who still thought it was the funniest film they'd seen in years. To top it off, Steve spoke at the premiere and said the film is "roughly 98% true." I'm buying several copies of the DVD for gifts. Steve Burrows is a rare fresh force in comedy, his style unlike anything else in the tired stand-up/sitcom-star field. To paraphrase Tim Matheson, "I just love you, love your film...what was it called again?" What an incredible debut, expect great things from this guy."
One of the best DVDs ever released!
tmarkus | 01/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Stephen Burrows' comedy masterpiece, Chump Change, delivers one hilarious laugh after another. The talented up-and-coming director captures great performances by all, including Jerry Stiller, Traci Lords, Tim Matheson, Fred Willard, and even Abe Vigoda. Even the most serious of all will find themselves laughing out loud as the film traces Burrows' adventures from the West Coast to the Midwest. Not only is the film itself tremendous, but the DVD is by far one of the best I own. Jam-packed with extras, including Director's Commentary, Director's Commentary on the Director's Commentary, and Focus Group Low-Lights (actual comments made by real people about the film), this DVD promises to entertain for hours! You won't be disappointed!"
Could it be? Funniest Movie in the History of Funny Movies?
tmarkus | 12/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No. That would be Blazing Saddles. HOWEVER, read on, as CHUMP CHANGE IS NOW ALSO ON MY TOP TEN LIST OF FAVORITE COMEDIES!
(And, to be totally honest with the readers of this review, yes, I do know the director, and consider myself a member of "The Army of Chump". But I'll take off my "friend hat" for the rest of the review, and shoot straight from the hip).Chump Change is an absolutely hilarious comedy. I'm buying a few copies of the DVD, not only for myself, but for my friends and family who missed the theatrical premiere! Also, the film is funny because it is so TRUE!Most of the film's storyline and anecdotes are based on writer/director/producer/actor Steve Burrows' real career in Hollywood. Steve has been a great actor in sit-coms and commercials for years, as also a great director of commercials and short films. I find it hard to believe that Steve jumped into a full length feature film wearing so many hats, and pulled off a classic comedy his first time out. I also think there will be quite a few lines from this movie heard on people's lips in late January! "Twitching" anyone?The other co-stars and cameo performances within the film are just as hilarious. Tim Matheson as the over-caffeinated movie producer; Traci Elizabeth Lords as a very sweet, funny, convincingly cynical Wisconsinite (you go girl!); smaller cameos by Jerry Stiller, Abe Vigoda (yes THE Abe Vigoda), Clancy Brown, Fred Willard, Ann Mira and many more. Great production values in both Wisconsin (very snowy, very kitschy) and Los Angeles (very bright, very "chic"). And a little bit of swearing. Did I mention Tim Matheson swearing. Lots of Swearing. Hilarious amounts of swearing. It felt like this ex-vice president from the West Wing just drank 40 gallons of coffee with Lee Ermy at breakfast. The script is well written, and well acted -- just plain funny. What more could you ask for? Well, the theatrical audience, where I saw the film at the Milwaukee International Film Festival in November 2003 (all 1000+ of us in the sellout crowd) got to ask for more. There was a great Q&A with Steve and Traci after the film, and although you'd think this was a 15 million dollar studio film, I'm pretty sure that you could have made 4 Chumps for the price of even one "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".So, remember that studio executives -- great films, and great comedies, can come from outside your big budget studio machines. This is a great one. Keep funding and distributing great films like this. You've set the bar pretty high, Steve, I'm sure even more Wisconsin filmmakers are up to the challenge of following in your footsteps!"
Excellent film with tons of laughs
tmarkus | 02/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Too inde to be mainstream, too mainstream to be inde: this is a great look at the absurdity of our obsession with pidgeon-holes and similar nonsense... I tend to think there is a lot less exageration in this film than would appear on the surface. The cover shot is goofy and misleading: this is a film about Steve Burroughs and his attempts to crack the Hollywood system, Tim Mathison is a supporting character. Anyhow, funny on a variety of levels. Destined to become a cult classic! Interesting soundtrack as well!"
Absolutely hilarious and totally heartwarming
tmarkus | 02/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I laughed so hard - I cried. This movie has tons of laughs along with a lot of heart and doesn't hold back on either. It's a smart, sophisticated comedy with plenty of crotch whacks - literally something for everyone.
The lead character, Milwaukee Steve (Steve Burrows) brings so much energy and comedic pathos to the screen, you just like him and naturally root for him. The love story between him and Sam (Traci Lords) is so sweet and strangely touching. I was swept away by the beauty of both the midwest and their blossoming love.
Simon Sez (Tim Matheson) was amazing as the nutso kinetic producer. He brought a certain humanity to this otherwise unlikeable character. I haven't seen him in anything so funny since "Animal House".
The comedy flows throughout, but never more so than when Steve auditions for the casting director (Anne Meara) and the Trilogy of Titters cast put on a show. Clancy Brown also makes a powerful appearance as an acting coach. The moive is loaded with strong, fun cameo's. Abe Vigoda as the frog, Jerry Stiller (the Colonel) and Fred Willard (Manager) were particularly hilarious. In fact, Fred delivers one of the most memorable lines from any movie I've ever seen, "I should've never given you my opinion 'til I found out what it was supposed to be".
The DVD extra's are superb and unexpectedly funny. I never seen anything like the focus group lo-lights and the director's commentary on the director's commentary - totally unique and hugely hilarious. The director's commentary is loaded with entertaining and interesting tidbits about the making of the film. And I loved the full scene of Dr. Kevorkian-the musical, in the outtakes.
This is a laugh-out-loud, funny American original. A must see, wild-romp through Hollywood and the midwest. I loved it."