“2 Minutes of Fame” is a comedy about comedy. Jay Pharoah (“Saturday Night Live”) stars as Deandre. He’s looking for his big break into the world of stand-up. For now, he’s working at a grocery store trying to help support nurse girlfriend Sky (Keke Palmer) and their young son. Dre also posts YouTube videos in which he does celebrity impressions of Jay-Z, Barack Obama and Eddie Murphy.
But his latest video goes a little further. He calls-out comic superstar Marques (played by Katt Williams) for taking terrible movie roles in bad films simply for the money. Marques’s reaction to Deandre’s viral video sets their semi-showdown in motion. Think Twitter war with punchlines.
Simultaneously, Dre gets the opportunity to go to LA to compete in a comedy showcase, with the prize being a national tour. He believes this what will finally launch his professional stand-up career.
By far, the most appealing and successful aspect of “2 Minutes of Fame” involves the character of Marques. Williams nails the “been through it all” comic actor whose career’s in a slump. He’s full of snark and experience in his trash-talking jabs back at Dre (one confrontation — the film’s best scene – happens on-stage during one of Dre’s sets).
Veteran sitcom writer Leslie Small (who’s also directed numerous stand-up concert specials for stars from Kevin Hart to Steve Harvey) presents some genuinely interesting ideas. Are YouTube/social media “influencers” legit comedians? Are older stand-up legends, who built their career working small clubs, night after night, still relevant today? And, most importantly, can there be a relationship between the two generations?
Williams, along with brief cameos from Sinbad and George Wallace, add realism. Unfortunately, this refreshing “old school v. new school” conflict isn’t the primary focus of “2 Minutes of Fame”.
The majority of the script is standard “young, struggling talent trying to get his big break” stuff. The first act, before Dre heads to Hollywood, is completely flat. All of Pharoah’s scenes with Palmer are basic. Later storylines involving Dre’s best friend/manager, a possible new love interest and his son being made fun of at school are so “been there/done that”. They all dumb-down “2MOF”, under-cutting the film’s flashes of real insight and bite.
Pharoah’s very talented and likable in this comfortable leading man role. And he handles himself quite well with the seasoned Williams. It’s their scenes that make “2 Minutes of Fame” slightly better than the average, small budget “Direct to DVD or VOD” release. But it could’ve been so much more.
LCJ GRADE: C+
Running Time: 97 min.