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Review: Women of comedy take on Hollywood-inflicted self-image issues in ‘Take My Nose .... Please!’

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Jackie Hoffman in the documentary “Take My Nose … Please!”
(Parvenu Ventures)

Producer-director Joan Kron’s “Take My Nose … Please!” is a lively and enjoyable documentary about comedians, plastic surgery, female self-image, aging in Hollywood, and other facets of facial politics. Though the film’s running time could have used a little nip-tuck, “Nose” offers a candid look at the lengths and risks a host of funny ladies past and present have taken to make peace with their punims.

The crux of the film tracks comedians Emily Askin and Jackie Hoffman (Mamacita from the TV miniseries “Feud”) as they research, consider, then undergo cosmetic surgery to fix what they’ve long deemed problematic (read: Semitic) noses; Hoffman has some additional “work” done as well. These women are open books as they drolly reflect on their pasts, families, careers and self-esteem issues, with the sexual abuse Askin experienced as a child adding a profound dimension.

Several other current female comedians who’ve undergone physical transformations (or not) also weigh in, with memorable archival footage and discussion of late comedy — and plastic surgery — pioneers Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, Totie Fields and Fanny Brice featured as well. A few authors, sociologists and surgeons provide further comment.

Celebrated journalist Kron, now 89, largely takes an objective view of her subjects despite being a proud veteran of surgical enhancement. Still, the film’s basic message is, “If it feels good, do it.”

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‘Take My Nose … Please!’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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