American: The Bill Hicks Story 2010

Critics score:
82 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times: Recounts a bright-burning life while leaving us mostly in the dark. Read more

Nathan Rabin, AV Club: Like Man In The Moon, American applies a thick gloss of reverence and sentimentality to the story of a comic pioneer who made his living challenging the kinds of neat, convenient, slickly packaged narratives presented here. Read more

John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter: A portrait of the short-lived artist that will move fans while letting the uninitiated witness enough onstage highlights to leave them wanting more. Read more

Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times: Posthumous albums and now this film are securing his legacy and enduring influence. Read more

Ian Buckwalter, NPR: It's heavy on facts, but short on insight -- a surface-level look at a performer of extraordinary depth. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Directors Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas work wonders with the old photos, animating and enhancing them to simulate Hicks' excellent adventure. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: In the stand-up world, to be a cerebral comic in America is to invite anonymity. In his short life, Bill Hicks extended that invitation and, more or less, it was accepted. Read more

David Jenkins, Time Out: Even those who shrug at his combative style of humour won't be able to deny that this is a model of detailed and distanced biographical filmmaking. Read more

Greg Quill, Toronto Star: The movie's appeal extends to the manner of its construction; it's an almost hypnotic kind of hybrid animation in which hundreds of photographs of Hicks in various poses and at various stages in his life are grafted onto two-dimensional backgrounds. Read more

Joe Leydon, Variety: Ultimately, the doc comes off as yet another reminder that, in showbiz and elsewhere, one of the greatest tragedies in life is unfulfilled promise. Read more

Andrew Schenker, Village Voice: Hicks's shtick is so good and his life so ordinary that it's hard to escape the feeling that we might've been better off just watching a compilation of the groundbreaking funnyman's work. Read more