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The Pest (1997)

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Paul Miller Rating:9.0/10 (1 vote) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by frankasu03 on March 20th, 2016:Find all reviews by frankasu03
Does a forgotten '90s Comedy like "The Pest" (1997) deserve a Director's Commentary this good? Whatever you think of this ill-fated vehicle for John Leguizamo, most film enthusiasts will find valuable information and anecdotes throughout the brief running time of this commentary. Director Paul Miller begins by describing his relationship with John, dating back to the "House of Buggin'" on the FOX network. Leguizamo's penchant for improvisational comedy was something Miller wanted to exploit, running takes between 8 to 10 attempts, to maximize the comedic potential. However, as a first time feature Director, Miller was faced with a bevy of tiny crises during the 32 day shoot. The fact that Leguizamo was such an animal lover, that he insisted on acting with a live Anaconda, led to a brief stint in the ER. John suffered a horrendous bite from the snake, a fang had to be literally retrieved from his nether region. Other times, simple rainfall played havoc with the sound, and required post-looping sessions that sapped many scenes of their impact. Speaking of locations, it's humbling to hear Miller gladly "forfeit" the many days shooting in Miami, for more takes utilizing the improv skills of his cast. Miller's technical "know-how" with video effects (thanks to a very long career directing TV comedies) saved some money during the hilarious "Bass-off" scene in the film's 3rd act. This same feel for comedy led the production to change out one editor for another, none other than the editor of "Black Sheep" (1996). Much of the track is devoted to the crew, like the aforementioned editor, the cinematographer Roy Wagner, and the producer (and former head of Universal) Sid Sheinberg. The verbal torrent of info from Miller is appreciated. So much so, that one can forgive his few Movie malapropisms during the commentary. Paul is clearly referring to "Surviving the Game" with Ice-T (as an homage for "The Pest"), and not "The Game" with Ice Cube (a Fincher film I'd pay to see). And when the subject of Leguizamo and friend Joe Morton's previous film comes up, Miller errs by calling that film "Executive Privilege." (Also, a Steven Seagal film I'd definitely pay to see) All is forgiven Paul; This is an incredibly dense solo track, and makes one wish Paul Miller worked more in the theatrical realm. 8.5/10