As I watched Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon, I was reminded of a question attributed to the late, great Gene Siskel: “Is this film more interesting than a documentary of the same actors having lunch?” If the film in question is a documentary, does that negate the question? If the most fascinating character in the movie is dead (Doug Kenney), and the second most fascinating is dead (Michael O'Donoghue), and the third most fascinating is dead (John Belushi), and the fourth most fascinating is dead (Gilda Radner), and the fifth most fascinating is dead (Harold Ramis), and all you’re left with is Chevy Chase (OK) and PJ O’Rourke (barf), is this movie worth seeing?

All that will depend on how you feel about 1970s and 1980s comedy nostalgia, and whether you care that the brain trust behind National Lampoon more or less created college comedy. If you’re wistful for movies like National Lampoon’s Animal House and National Lampoon’s Vacation, have at it. If you want to see a rare display of emotion from Chase, have at it. If all the dead people mentioned in this review are more interesting than the two living guys, skip it.



Directed by Douglas Tirola
With all those dead people and a few living creatures, too
CCA Cinematheque
95 min.