Director Paul Provenza takes one deep into a filthy in-joke with humorous, provocative results.
The Aristocrats is the titular joke examined dutifully by Provenza and partner comedian/magician Penn Jillette. It goes back at least half a century when Phyllis Diller started to fashion her way to explain it.
So, this rather obscene investigation of the fascination of the joke and its antecedent works noticeably well as the documentary shrewdly deconstructs the performance art of stand-up comedy.
It's not the point to get into the joke itself which isn't even that memorable of a sidesplitter. But, at least one movie chain is not showing it for the rough-hewn sensibilities of permissable wisecracking. Look for some notably risque spins on the material by a plethora of comedians from George Carlin, Robin Williams, Paul Reiser, Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock, Martin Mull, and Steven Wright, among others. The approach by Gilbert Gottfried is one that is suitably crafted to his brand of comedy.
The Aristocrats may languish slightly for some, but the bold boisterousness comes from the arc of leaving no nasty stone unturned. It's an untamed expose of humor that has an intriguing, smart upside to it.