VOD REVIEW: Mockumentary Tijuana Jackson skates on Romany Malco’s charms, but presents unsatisfying story

To say Tijuana Jackson: Purpose Over Prison is unoriginal is to do Romany Malco a huge disservice.

Malco — best known for his smaller role in The 40-Year-Old-Virgin as well as his recent TV stint on A Million Little Things — is a huge talent, and his work as writer, director and star here is inventive enough to keep even the silliest moments from ducking into farce.

This mockumentary about an ex-convict who wants to become a world-renowned motivational speaker is perhaps a little crass and a whole lot inappropriate for 2020, but I think we could use more dialogue that pushes the envelope. Put simply, that’s comedy.

Malco’s film really hits the spot when he disappears into Jackson, and there’s no doubting his passion for this project. Similarly, all his scenes with Regina Hall are incredible, and one only wishes the two had more.

I suppose it was just a bit too meta for my taste, and we saw way more of the filmmakers than we rightly should have. The number one rule of doc filmmaking is never to make the story about yourself.

Maybe if we spent a bit more time on Jackson’s — and Malco’s — exploits, we may have had more footage that was worthwhile.

It’s certainly not a bad film, but I know Malco and Hall are capable of more, and I hope his next directorial effort reflects his considerable talents.

2.5/5 Stars

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