In an episode of "Seinfeld", Jerry's comments about how he thinks Sally Weaver (Kathy Griffin) can't act eventually get back to her, and she ends up using it in an increasingly popular stand-up performance about how much she hates Jerry Seinfeld. Actress Annabelle Gurwitch was walking along one day when she got "the call" - Woody Allen wanted her for a play. Thrilled and thought she was having her "big moment", she was soon let down after being canned by Allen from the production. She couldn't stop thinking about the fact that she was fired by a cultural icon.
Depressed and not able to stop concentrating on the fact that she was dropped by Allen, Gurwitch decided to start a stand-up performance about how much she hates Woody Allen. Actually, no: she wrote a book about it, produced a play about it and went out to make a movie about how everyone, at some point or another, has gotten fired.
Gurwitch decided to head across the country, filming the stories from various friends (Illeana Douglas, Tim Allen, Fred Willard, Richard Kind, Jeff Garlin, Sarah Silverman and others) and regular people (auto workers, people looking for jobs at a career fair) and get their stories about being fired. Sarah Silverman tells one of the shortest (yet funniest stories), ending her note about being fired by fax (the fax went to her agent, not her) from "Saturday Night Live" with a look that sums it up perfectly. Tate Donovan talks about being fired from an acting job, then finding that the filming of the production was taking place right in front of his house. He called the police on the production, only to see his replacement (Matthew Broderick) signing autographs. Gurwitch also talks to the one person she found from the Bush White House who admits he was fired: the executive chef, who talks about the reality of the White House kitchen and his philosophy on being let go.
Some of the loopier elements (such as a bit with actor Andy Dick) of the film don't work as well, but when Gurwitch sits down with both friends and people she meets, the film really does become a fascinating documentary that not only has people sharing their interesting stories about loss, but giving a look at the difficulties of the job market today, with workers finding that they have less job security than ever before. Gurwitch makes for a good interviewer as well, managing to bring an appropriate lightness to some moments throughout the interviews. The documentary also ends on an uplifting note.
Overall, I enjoyed the film and, aside from a few flighty moments, it provided an informative and uplifting (in a "We've all been there" way) at a serious and very often saddening subject.
VIDEO: "Fired" is presented by Shout Factory! in 1.78:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is average, although it's understandable, given the fact that this was shot with a limited budget and equipment. Sharpness and detail are okay, as the picture appeared decently crisp, but never crystal clear and occasionally, some scenes appeared softer than the rest. Some minor artifacting was seen, but no edge enhancement or print flaws. Colors remained natural, with no smearing or other concerns.
SOUND: Clear, crisp stereo audio.
EXTRAS: About 20 minutes of deleted interview footage.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed the film and, aside from a few flighty moments, it provided an informative and uplifting (in a "We've all been there" way) at a serious and very often saddening subject. A recommended rental, or a purchase for someone you know who has recently lost their job.