Mike Myers' directorial debut has found an incredibly interesting subject in Shep Gordon, a guy that happened to fall into music management and then went on to take over the entertainment world. Unfortunately, I often found myself distracted by Myer's techniques, the only subtraction from an otherwise fascinating documentary.
Shep Gordon has worked with practically everyone in the entertainment business, from managing Alice Cooper to molding Emeril Lagasse into the first celebrity chef and funding movies along the way. The film covers his journey from unassuming teenager to crafty manager and hedonistic party animal to an older Shep who's embraced Buddhism and living out life in his gorgeous home where he hosts dinner parties for entertainment's elite. It's clear from the very beginning that Myers has the utmost respect for Gordon, as do the many celebrities interviewed for the documentary. With stars such as Alice Cooper, Willie Nelson, Michael Douglas and Sylvester Stallone stepping up to tell stories, it's clear that Shep is widely admired and respected. If anything, the documentary gets a bit one-note about praising Shep and at times it feels like an overkill of a love fest.
Crafting a documentary can be tricky, and Myers goes a bit out of the box with some of his techniques, particularly some rather strange re-enactments featuring actors playing younger versions of Shep and his associates. Personally, I found the re-enactments incredibly distracting because I spent the entirety of them trying to figure out if it was done by actors or not, and then wondering why they would make such a choice. Either way, it was clearly Myers' zany sense of humor shining through.
This documentary is basically a love letter to Shep Gordon, for better or worse. I couldn't help wondering what other people might have to say about Shep and his voracious appetite for women and a good time. Still, you can't deny that it's an enthralling, inside look at the entertainment industry from the 1970s onward, wild parties and all. Shep's mental transformation from his devil-may-care youth to his contemplative middle age is something that everyone goes through, but rarely someone with so much power and income at his disposal. Shep has clearly done many, many good things with that power and income and is a dear friend to people when they need it most. It says a lot about him that Myers has wanted to do a documentary about Shep for five years and it took Shep that long to agree to do it. I left the theater impressed with this man I knew so little about earlier that day. While I often found Myers' style distracting, it wasn't bad enough that it overshadowed all the good parts of the film.