Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show has a loosey-goosey, what-the-hell spirit that’s easy and fun to hook into. Early on, Vaughn says that he put together a variety show in 2005 that would travel by bus to 30 cities in 30 nights. When we first see Vaughn, cutting up in front of an L.A. audience, he seems game for anything, as he’s joined on stage by his old cohort Jon Favreau, who now has a Tony Soprano swagger. Favreau and Justin Long read from the script of Swingers, all to demonstrate how little talent it took to perform Vaughn’s star-making role in that film. The routine is so money we’re in the palm of their hand.
On the road, though, the film, ditching Favreau, turns out to be a variety show of very little variety. The stage clips are mixed in with backstage high jinks in a way that recalls early-’70s rock-carnival films like Mad Dogs & Englishmen, but the show itself boils down to this: a quartet of perfectly okay bellicose male stand-up comics doing their practiced observational bits — in other words, nothing you couldn’t catch in the middle of the night on Comedy Central. I laughed at self-described ”guido” Bret Ernst’s impersonation of techno music, and at the gentle paranoia of John Caparulo, who views the world through a fish-eye brain. But the gender-behavior jokes, delivered as if they were news, may now say less about the way men and women are than about the way stand-up comedians are. In a word: arrested. B-