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Steve Byrne
Jimmy O. Yang, Alex Moffatt, Cedric the Entertainer
Steve Byrne

When given the opportunity to emcee a comedy show opening for his hero Billy G, wannbe comic Will Chu must decide if he wants to continue the life he has set up or pursue his dream.
Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 12/15/2020

• “The Making of The Opening Act” Featurette
• “Getting Started in Comedy” Featurette
• Extended Stand-Up Scenes


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The Opening Act [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 13, 2020)

Best known for supporting roles in movies like Fantasy Island and TV shows like Silicon Valley, Jimmy O. Yang gets the lead in 2020’s The Opening Act. In a stretch of his talents, real-life stand-up comic Yang plays a wannabe standup comic.

Will Chu (Yang) grows up in a household where he and his parents often watch comedians. This leads him to love the format, and as a young adult, he does his best to make a career in the field.

However, this proves challenging until one day, Will gets a slot as the opening act for his idol Billy G. (Cedric the Entertainer). As he pairs with the established comedian, he finds it tough to make a go of his dream.

As mentioned, Yang has a fair amount of experience under his belt as a supporting actor, and he usually does well in that regard. If we use Act as an indicator, he doesn’t seem ready to carry a movie on his own just yet, though.

Not that Yang flops as our focus, as he seems competent. However, Yang feels like he still doesn’t know how to come to the fore, so he seems unsure how to give the film the energy it needs.

It probably doesn’t help that Act surrounds Yang with plenty of other comedic talent. In addition to Cedric, we find folks like Alex Moffatt, Ken Jeong, Bill Burr and Whitney Cummings.

In theory, these professionals should help ground the flick – and to some degree, they do, especially Cedric. Even in a relatively small part, he manages to create a vivid personality, arguably the most compelling part of the film.

An issue occurs because Yang seems outdone by his co-stars. They feel more natural and take the reins to a degree he can’t, a factor that leaves the movie without much of a center.

It also hurts that Act lacks much real plot or development. Most of the movie seems episodic and focuses on various escapades more than Will’s journey.

These threaten to amuse, but they tend to fall short because Act seems so padded. The film feels like it enjoys maybe half an hour of actual narrative/character material spread out to 90 minutes, and that makes it seem thin and mediocre.

A better-constructed version of this film could work, and I can’t claim Act comes devoid of any entertainment value. Nonetheless, it feels like a slow 90 minutes that never catches fire.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

The Opening Act appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a quality presentation.

Sharpness was fine. A handful of wider shots could be a little tentative, but those remained in the minority, as most of the flick appeared concise and accurate.

Jagged edges and shimmering didn’t occur, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws also failed to present any problems, as the movie offered a clean image.

In terms of colors, the film favored a mild golden tint or a blue feel. These were light overtones, so the colors were solid within the design parameters.

Blacks seemed deep and tight, while shadows were good. I thought this was a consistently high-quality image.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it seemed satisfactory. It favored the usual “comedy mix” and didn’t present many chances for the soundscape to explode.

We did find a few slightly more involving scenes – most of which took place on the road – but the track usually opted for stereo music and general environmental material. Though these didn’t seem exciting, they opened up the piece in a satisfying manner.

I thought audio quality appeared positive. Speech seemed distinctive and natural, with no rough tones or other issues.

Score and songs displayed clear, warm music, and effects functioned well. Those elements were reasonably realistic and full throughout the movie. Again, nothing here dazzled, but the mix accentuated the action in a good way.

A few extras appear here, and The Making of The Opening Act goes for six minutes, 10 seconds and offers notes from writer/director Steve Byrne, and actors Jimmy O. Yang, Ken Jeong, Debby Ryan, Alex Moffatt, Neal Brennan, Jermaine Fowler, Alonzo Bodden, Cedric the Entertainer, Russell Peters, Whitney Cummings and Bill Burr.

“Making” offers basics about story/characters, cast and performances, and Byrne’s work. Expect a superficial piece without much substance.

Getting Started in Comedy runs three minutes, 41 seconds and features Yang, Jeong, Cedric, Bodden, Brennan, Cummings, Peters, Fowler, Burr, Byrne, Moffatt, and actors Kathleen Madigan and Sarah Tiana.

They give us basics about how to get going in standup. Like “Making”, it lacks much meat.

Finally, we find 11 minutes, four seconds of Extended Standup Scenes. We get bits from a mix of the movie’s characters in this decent compilation.

As a look at the world of stand-up comedy, The Opening Act comes with some potential. Unfortunately, it seems thin and never gets into a groove. The Blu-ray offers appealing visuals along with adequate audio and a few bonus materials. While it occasionally entertains, Act doesn’t connect in a consistent or meaningful manner.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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