A Rollicking Review: Bert Kreischer’s ‘The Machine’ – Comedy, Adventure, and Heartfelt Moments

A Rollicking Review: Bert Kreischer’s ‘The Machine’ – Comedy, Adventure, and Heartfelt Moments

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  • Watch The Official Trailer First:

The Machine,” starring Bert Kreischer, is a comedic rollercoaster that takes audiences on a wild ride filled with laughter, unexpected twists, and a healthy dose of nostalgia. Known for his infectious energy and unique storytelling, Bert Kreischer brings his real-life adventures to the screen in a way only he can.
The film centers around Bert‘s escapades during his college years, a time when he earned the nickname “The Machine” due to a legendary incident involving the Russian Mafia.

  • Bert Kreischer’s Larger-Than-Life Persona in ‘The Machine:

With his larger-than-life personality, Kreischer‘s retelling of this outrageous story is nothing short of side-splitting. His animated expressions and delivery draw the audience in, making them feel like they’re right there with him as the story unfolds.

  • Unravelling the Plot of ‘The Machine’:

What truly sets “The Machine” apart is its genuine and relatable heart. Amidst the raucous laughter, Bert manages to inject moments of vulnerability and introspection, sharing personal insights that resonate with audiences. His ability to seamlessly transition from uproarious laughter to introspective moments adds depth to the film, showing that beneath the comedic exterior lies a storyteller who can connect on a deeper level.

  • Mark Hamill’s Surprising Comedic Performance in ‘The Machine‘:

Legendary actor Mark Hamill, known for his performances in the Star Wars films as Luke Skywalker, offers a brilliant comedic performance as Bert‘s crusty, know-it-all father, Albert Kreischer, with whom Bert has a highly dysfunctional relationship. Bert’s daughter, Sasha (played by Jess Gabor), has a dysfunctional relationship with Bert. Bert’s wife, LeeAnn (played by Stephanie Kurtzuba), acts as the go-between Bert and Sasha. Bert‘s modern-day world takes a turn when Irina (played by Iva Babic), a member of the Russian Mafia, comes seeking the family watch that Bert allegedly stole when he was a teenager in Russia. Irina takes Bert and Albert on the journey of their lives back to Russia to search for this precious heirloom. Bert and Albert agree to go on the condition that Sasha and LeeAnn remain safe.

  • Behind the Scenes: The Making of ‘The Machine‘:

The pacing of the film is commendable, allowing viewers to become fully immersed in each anecdote with many flashbacks to a young Bert (played by Jimmy Tatro) getting close to his Russian handler, Igor ( played by Nikola Djuricko) and earning his title as “The Machine.” Bert Kreischer‘s chemistry with the camera is undeniable, creating an intimate atmosphere that makes viewers feel like they’re catching up with an old friend. The incorporation of real-life footage and reenactments adds a visually engaging layer to the storytelling, enhancing the overall experience.

I really enjoyed watching “The Machine.” I found it both a hilarious and heartwarming film showcasing Bert Kreischer‘s comedic genius, merging his love for his family with his madcap adventures. It’s a journey that’s not only laugh-out-loud funny but also offers a glimpse into the man behind the laughter. It’s very enjoyable to watch.
The Machine was directed by Peter Atencio, known for his work on hit comedies like Keanu and Key & Peele. The screenplay was written by Kevin Biegel (Cougar Town) and Scotty Landes, based on Kreischer‘s popular stand-up routines and memoir. Kreischer himself served as producer alongside his wife, LeeAnn Kreischer, Judi Marmel, Cale Boyter, and director Peter Atencio.
Of course, Kreischer stars as himself, embodying the larger-than-life, hard-partying “Machine” persona he became known for in his youth. Mark Hamill surprises with his comedic chops as Bert’s persnickety father, while Jimmy Tatro humorously portrays the young Bert in college flashbacks.

  • The Stellar Cast of ‘The Machine‘:

The cast is rounded out by Iva Babić as a member of the Russian mob, Bert’s wife, Stephanie Kurtzuba, and his on-screen daughter Jessica Gabor.

The Machine Home On Blu-ray
The Machine Home On Blu-ray

The Machine runs approximately 112 minutes and is rated 14A in Canada. It was mastered in high definition and is presented in 2.39:1 widescreen format on Blu-ray and DVD. The Blu-ray includes English, French, and Spanish 5.1 surround sound options, while the DVD has English, French, and Spanish 5.1 tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French, and Spanish.
Kreischer‘s crazy stories of partying and the Russian mob have now been realized on screen through the efforts of this dedicated crew. The Machine promises lots of laughs for Kreischer‘s legions of fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • More about Bert Kreischer:

Bert Kreischer is a stand-up comedian who first rose to fame after his outrageous stories as a hard-partying college student became the basis for the 2002 film National Lampoon’s Van Wilder. Since then, he has developed a hugely popular comedy career touring stand-up circuits and releasing comedy specials.

  • Key Locations in ‘The Machine‘:

Much of the film takes place in flashy Los Angeles locations like Kreischer‘s large home and a bustling outdoor mall where his family is confronted by the Russian gangsters.
It flashes back to dingy Russian nightclubs, universities, and apartments where young Kreischer drinks excessively and gets into mischief.
For the globetrotting second half, Kreischer returns to Russia, where key scenes occur at a swanky hotel, a bathhouse, and a lavish mob mansion.

  • Directing Style – The Pace, Visuals, and Comedy in ‘The Machine‘:

Back in high school and college in Canada, I’ve also taken drama and theatre courses, so I also know a thing or two about theatre. Here, I share my humble knowledge:
Director Bert Kreischer utilizes a fast-paced, freewheeling approach to match the chaotic vibe of Kreischer‘s stories. The camerawork feels loose and natural.

  • Directing Style and Comedic Elements of ‘The Machine‘:

Comedy set pieces are filmed for maximum humour impact, including a bathroom scene involving explosive diarrhea.
Gritty lighting and handheld shots add flair to mob-related scenes set in Russia.

  • Comedic Elements:

The movie balances slapstick gross-out humour with witty dialogue and situational comedy involving Kreischer’s family.
Mark Hamill generates big laughs as the fussy, old-fashioned father who dishonestly exasperates Kreischer.
Outrageous moments include Kreischer accidentally ingesting cocaine and hallucinating while lecturing Russian students.

  • Overarching Themes of ‘The Machine‘:

Despite the wacky comedy, the movie has an underlying heart centred on Kreischer trying to win back his daughter’s respect.

Nostalgia and middle-aged melancholy also permeate the film as Kreischer reflects on his wild youthful indiscretions.

  • About Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE):

As one of the world’s major film studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) boasts an extensive global reach across the entertainment industry. Headquartered in Culver City, California, SPE operates as a Tokyo-based multinational conglomerate Sony Group Corporation subsidiary.
SPE’s diverse business operations cover a broad media production and distribution spectrum. This includes financing, producing, acquiring and marketing Hollywood motion pictures from prestigious brands like Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Screen Gems, and Sony Pictures Classics.
Beyond theatrical films, SPE also produces and distributes television programming through its Sony Pictures Television division and operates branded specialty television networks. Additional SPE activities encompass digital content creation, new technology development related to entertainment and media, and managing studio facilities in Los Angeles, California.
SPE entertainment content reaches audiences globally with film and TV operations spanning the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia, Latin America and Africa. The company constantly seeks new opportunities and innovations to deliver exceptional entertainment experiences worldwide.

  • Bert Kreischer’s Stand-Up Specials:

Some of Kreischer‘s most popular comedy specials include:

  • Bert Kreischer: The Machine (2016) :

Kreischer performs live stand-up, telling stories about his experiences befriending the Russian mob. This special served as the inspiration for the subsequent movie The Machine in 2022.

  • Bert Kreischer: Secret Time (2018):

Filmed live in Cincinnati, Kreischer hilariously shares personal stories about his family life, career, and more. The special was directed by the renowned Jay Chapman.

  • Bert Kreischer: Hey Big Boy (2020) :

Kreischer‘s 5th stand-up special has him dishing on fatherhood struggles, anger issues, and how being a dad affects his marriage. It was filmed in Tampa Bay, Florida.

  • Bert Kreischer: Berty Boy Relapse (2022):

His latest comedy special has Kreischer gleefully delving back into his hard-partying stories that earned him the nickname “The Machine,” much to his wife’s disapproval.

  • Similar Fast-Paced, Freewheeling Comedy Movies to ‘The Machine‘:

Some recommendations for other fast-paced, freewheeling comedy movies that have a similar feel to Bert Kreischer‘s “The Machine“:

  • “Borat” (2006):

Sacha Baron Cohen’s mockumentary about his absurd Kazakh character features guerrilla-style pranks and edgy humour captured by fly-on-the-wall cinematography.

  • “The Hangover” (2009):

Director Todd Phillips employs a loose, improvisational shooting style to heighten the chaos of the characters’ drunken misadventures in Las Vegas.

  • “Old School” (2003):

Director Todd Phillips uses energetic handheld camerawork, fast editing, and natural lighting to complement the vulgar college humour.

  • “Bridesmaids” (2011):

Paul Feig allows room for improv and witty banter between the talented comedic cast, lending the film an unpredictable, conversational feel.

  • “Neighbors” (2014):

Director Nicholas Stoller utilizes comedic actors‘ improv skills and grounds outrageous scenarios with documentary-style shooting.

  • “Office Space” (1999):

Mike Judge perfectly captures the mundane, deadpan nature of office life with simple setups and minimal camera movements.

  • “The Hangover” (2009):

Director Todd Phillips employs a loose, improvisational shooting style to heighten the chaos of the characters’ drunken misadventures in Las Vegas.

  • “Step Brothers” (2008):

Adam McKay uses fast-paced editing and handheld cinematography to accentuate the childish antics of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.
The loose, reality-show style of these comedies complements the humorous scenarios. Like “The Machine,” they allow talented comedians’ improv skills to shine through energetic, unrestrained direction.

  • The Comedic Filmmaking Style of ‘The Machine’ and Similar Movies:

Additional details about the comedic filmmaking style of “The Machine” and similar movies:

  • Improvisation and Loose Scripts:

Many of these comedies feature improvised dialogue and loosely scripted scenes that allow actors to find organic humour in the moment.
Directors like Adam McKay and Todd Phillips encourage their comedic actors like Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis to riff, go off-script, and test different lines.
The semi-improvisational style often leads to natural, conversational humour that feels unrehearsed.

  • Cinematography and Camera Movement:

Cinematographers favour handheld cameras and tracking shots that make scenes feel dynamic and unpolished.
Quick pans, zooms, and focus shifts add to the shaky, mockumentary aesthetic.
The mobile camerawork allows for shooting on location and capturing spur-of-the-moment comedy rather than looking overly staged.

  • Pacing and Editing:

Fast-paced editing keeps the laugh-per-minute ratio high, cutting between punchlines and comedic set pieces.
Choppy, quick cuts enhance the unpredictable, haphazard tone.
Extended improv digressions are often truncated or intercut with other scenes to tighten the pacing.

  • Directing Unscripted Moments:

Directors like Todd Phillips scout locations for comedic possibilities to inspire organic humour.
They may shoot scenes without detailed staging to capture natural reactions and spontaneity.
Allowing scenes to play out with minimal direction can yield delightful unscripted comedy.
This pseudo-documentary comedic style seen in “The Machine” and films like “Borat” relies on lively improvisation and a cleverly reactive directing approach to producing humour reflecting the absurdities of real life.

(photos by Aleksandar Letic)

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