Mini-review: 'Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon'
Shep Gordon has to be a documentary maker's dream subject, one so colorful and astonishing no screenwriter could possibly create such an over-the-top character.
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He's like the real-life version of Woody Allen's "Zelig," a bigger-than-life figure who magically pops up at all the right places at the right times to mingle with superstars, effortlessly win their trust and become their instant and lifelong show biz agent. (We're talking about clients as diverse as Alice Cooper, Blondie, Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Raquel Welch, Anne Murray, Willie Nelson, Emeril Lagasse and a zillion others.)
"Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon" has the inside stuff on Gordon in Mike Myers' insightful, but too respectful, directorial debut. Myers might seem like an odd choice to direct a doc, but he has known Gordon since 1991 when he dictated what Alice Cooper songs Myers could use in his comedy "Wayne's World."
Myers clearly knows this man and loves him for his honesty, modesty and aversion to fame, something he views as poison for the soul. He talks from experience.
From his humble beginnings as a marijuana supplier to such stars as the Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, Gordon sort of slid into an agent's job, making up his career as it went along. For his brilliant and bold marketing savvy, and his commitment to clients, Gordon winds up with a tropical paradise home in Hawaii, a shelter for his friends and a place for some wild parties.
Gordon pays a price for his exceptional life; he is not married and has no children, save for a few of his ex-wife's grandkids he adopts. He does wonder how his life might have been more fulfilled.
Yet, his acts of generosity and compassion go a long way to balance his shortcomings, which aren't much in Myers' admiring lens.
"Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon" opens at the Century Centre, Chicago. Rated R for drug use, language, nudity, sexual references. 84 minutes. ★ ★ ★