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By Jess Fenton
8th March 2015

One of Australia’s favourite comedians, Carl Barron, has finally put pen to paper and written a screenplay which he also stars in, about a stand up comedian. Okay, so there was no great stretch there, but what’s really on display here is bravery. We all know that comedians can and will do almost anything for a laugh, but Carl’s already got his laughs, he’s had them for two decades - what he’s showing us now is the man, the life and pain behind those laughs. To be so personal and intimate is to be extraordinary in the ordinary.

Manny Lewis (Barron) is a touring stand-up comic at the peak of his career. With a big break on the horizon, to finally crack the U.S. market, Manny suddenly discovers what’s missing in his life. Late one lonely night Manny calls an adult hotline, no funny business, just a chat with the lovely Caroline. Shortly afterwards Manny meets and asks out Maria (Leeanna Walsman). While dating Maria Manny still makes his phone calls to Caroline, confiding in her about his new relationship - only Caroline is Maria and Manny is none the wiser.


Sadly Barron hasn’t written any new material for this film, nor has he found a co-star to share chemistry with. It’s a little slow, a little awkward, you’re never fully invested or quite understand why these two people try so hard to stay together. There’s no sex, nor any mention of it - a trip to Manny’s apartment results in iced Vovos and a Tim Tam slam followed by a DVD and soup. Saucy. Manny is a depressed person who doesn’t actually suffer from depression, just loneliness apparently. And of course, he has a childhood trauma. Personally I feel this storytelling ploy is cheap and a copout and far too overused these days, but it’s there nonetheless.

Basing this on his own life and experiences just like his comedic material, Barron has taken a risk in exposing such emotional difficulties in this world that he lives in. Audiences and fans may no longer know where Manny ends and Carl begins, making for some awkward laughs down the track when Carl returns to the stage.

‘Manny Lewis’ is cute at times and has its charms, but if you’re looking for 'Carl Barron' best you stick to his DVDs.

RELEASE DATE: 12/03/2015
RUN TIME: 01h 29m
CAST: Carl Barron
Leanna Walsman
Roy Billing
Damien Garvey
DIRECTOR: Anthony Mir
WRITERS: Carl Barron
Anthony Mir
PRODUCER: Martin Fabinyi
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