An entertaining documentary with the eponymous longtime NBC, now TBS talk-show host who comes across with much passion and energy often unfolds in an evenhanded insightful way.
Conan O'Brien Can't Stop hits its intended marks after the NBC fiasco (of having O'Brien assume The Tonight Show when moving long-time well-regarded host Jay Leno to his own prime-time slot) which led to the gawky, talented (once writer on The Simpsons) having to stay off the air for half-a-year as part of a deal with the network (not always as proud as a peacock).
This nonfiction from Rodman Flender, its scenarist, shows the good and bad of O'Brien (definitely not to everyone's taste) not content to rest on his lucrative laurels as Leno got back his old gig at the behest of NBC bigwigs.
The result isn't probably smoothed out enough with plotting or transitioning, yet Flender knows what best about viewing O'Brien's nationwide (from a now more radical Pacific northwest to his native Boston area) tour in a behind-the-scenes, fly on-the-wall approach.
Resentment about NBC's neglect to him fuels an assured, if apprehensive Conan, as some of the off-stage stuff and shenanigans even outweigh some of the driven, very humorous performance bits. A zany edge to his all-in brand of humor is there to be viewed as the subject is hardly the recluse of a Johnny Carson, willing to do the meet-and-greet (even if he would rather not) and go out of his way to help an underage fan have the opportunity to attend a show.
How he handles his emotions could be a little overbearing on his crew, especially his valued group of writers, if they weren't used to his jocund piquancy. O'Brien's lively attitude will certainly ingratiate his followers as in the clips are guest stars like Jim Carrey and Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert of The Daily Show. He's even able to step aside to his college reunion for a little alumni show-and-tell.
After a more well-rounded and groomed Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop still offers an experience grounded in integrity and wit after one of the more notorious broadcast television blunders in recent memory.
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