Documentary Review: ‘Rosie O’ Donnell: A Heartfelt Stand Up’ Tonight On HBO

It is hard to categorize ‘Rosie O’Donnell: A Heartfelt Stand Up.’ The comedy routines on display are not necessarily hilarious, but they have their moments. At their best they deserve a chuckle, but at their worst they feel like somewhat aggressive infomercials. For more than an hour O’Donnell makes light of her (failed) romances, being a mother, and suffering a heart attack. While certain aspects of her show are relatable and entertaining, much of the special is personal to the point of making the show appeal more to incoming fans than first time viewers. Indeed most of the time it feels like she is just adlibbing personal stories.

Nevertheless, O’Donnell is an engaging figure, and her personality and wit are on full display throughout. Her public dramas and TV talk show roles have largely overshadowed her comedic roots, which this special attempts to reintroduce even if the results are a bit uneven.

With all of the recent commotion surrounding O’Donnell it is no surprise that people would be interested in hearing more about her and her life. She uses the spotlight to her advantage to discuss what she deems a fairly serious issue: women not preparing against heart disease. Fresh off of a heart attack herself, O’Donnell uses the special to warn women of the potential risks they face by not being vigilant. A worthy message indeed, however coming as the climax of a comedy special airing on Valentine’s Day it just feels more gimmicky than genuine. This is not to say that she doesn’t mean what she says just that the delivery feels a bit off.

‘Rosie O’Donnell: A Heartfelt Stand Up’ is a funny but somewhat underwhelming comedy special that, while it serves a good purpose, caters more to longtime fans than anyone else. While it is refreshing to see a celebrity use their spotlight for such a worthy cause it is a shame that the special does not work better as a whole.

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