There is much to like and dislike about Howard Stern.
Radio's #1 bad-boy, he is a shock jock who tests
the taboos of society. Of course he can be a real
jerk, but underneath it all, he's just an average
guy and a wonderful family man. Or so he repeatedly
tells us, as he plays footsie with naked bimbos
while on the air. It's just a joke, get it?
Perhaps Stern has the greatest job in America, getting
paid zillions of dollars to express his outrageous
opinions on the air, which includes the hiring of hit
men to kill people that he dislikes. But it takes talent
to ad lib with such flair, and it has to be admitted:
Howard Stern is funny, much, much more so than Jerry Springer
could ever hope to be, and that is a very redeeming quality.
"Private Parts" tells the Stern saga, rising from
clumsy, nerdy college DJ to NBC's flagship radio station
in New York. Along the way he marries blonde goddess
Mary McCormack, whom he nearly loses due to his radio
prattle about his marital intimacies, and his on-air
flirtations with bimbo guests and call-ins.
Although (both thankfully and surprisingly) the First
Amendment is never mentioned, Stern fights the good fight
against censorship, battling a dislikable program manager
(Paul Giamatti, dubbed "Pig Vomit" by Stern) for the
all-important right to say 'cock' on the air. Wisely,
director Betty Thomas softens Stern's persona, downplaying
the occasional hatred and emphasizing Stern's role as
a family man.
Also appearing in "Private Parts", and also playing
themselves, are Stern's radio show cohorts Robin Quivers,
Fred Norris, and Jackie Martling. Quivers is especially
That "Private Parts" is a modestly good film is not
a surprise, given Stern's talent for dialogue. While the
film could not have been much better, given his limitations,
it could have been much worse, as most comedies are.
"Private Parts" is well structured and avoids repetition,
and is more than willing to place Stern in embarassing
situations. The film never drags and a good laugh is
always around the corner.
Copyright © 1997 Brian Koller