Review: A strong story propels hair mogul bio-doc ‘Good Fortune,’ but it’s still just product
To fairly critique the documentary “Good Fortune,” one must separate the film from its subject, famed entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria. As presented by producers-directors Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell, the billionaire philanthropist seems legitimately beyond reproach: humble, optimistic, embracing, uber-generous, socially conscious, an amazing dad and spouse (to wife Eloise).
The movie itself plays more like a corporate recruitment video — or an extended episode of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” — than a deep, discerning dive into an American success story. Dan Aykroyd’s self-important narration (written by Johnny O’Hara) doesn’t help.
As outlined here, Echo Park-born DeJoria (a.k.a. “J.P.”), now 73, grew up poor, was homeless at times, served in the Navy, hung with the Hells Angels and lost a beloved brother, all before going on to amass a fortune as co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair-care products and the Patrón tequila brand.
It’s quite a tale and the Tickells, using strong archival clips, fun soundtrack picks, dramatic reenactments, on-the-scene footage and interviews with DeJoria and such starry pals as Robert Kennedy Jr., Arianna Huffington, Cheech Marin, Michelle Phillips and Aykroyd, tell it enjoyably and with visual flair.
Is there a flip side to DeJoria’s beatific existence? Who knows? But without any objective input or critical probing, it’s just cinematic puff pastry.
Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica
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