Review: Gabriel Iglesias in ‘The Fluffy Movie,’ good fun, standard film

If you’ve never heard of stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias, it seems you’re part of a vanishing breed. The roly-poly performer, self-nicknamed Fluffy, has toured in more than 400 cities around the globe, sold more than half a million concert tickets worldwide and boasts 6 million-plus Facebook fans. In addition, he’s acted in such films as “Magic Mike” and “A Haunted House 2.” Iglesias is also quite funny.

So now that you’ve made his acquaintance, you might want to join Iglesias’ legion of admirers and check him out in “The Fluffy Movie.” Or not. Despite the Mexican American comic’s engaging presence, amusing observations and deft imitations, “Fluffy” is a standard-issue comedy concert film far better suited to a 90-minute cable TV slot than the big screen.

Except for a dispensable prologue re-creating the meeting of Iglesias’ parents around 1975 and bits from the comedian’s early childhood, the movie, directed by Manny Rodriguez, is simply filmed footage from a pair of Iglesias’ stage performances held earlier this year in San Jose. Save the occasional shot of a tickled audience member, it’s all Fluffy, all the time — not a bad thing, just not a particularly cinematic one.

Iglesias is, first and foremost, a storyteller, which, at least as seen here, proves both a strength and weakness. There’s plenty of heart and wit to his tales, which include accounts of his lifelong battle of the bulge (he once tipped the scales at 455 pounds), a recent trip to India (he amusingly concludes that the place is like Mexico, just farther east), raising his monosyllabic teenage stepson and more. Unfortunately, these stories tend to go on too long, often losing steam. More judicious editing by Rodriguez could have gone a long way in the pacing department.

Later on, however, things get appealingly deeper and more personal as Iglesias relates how he reluctantly reunited with his estranged mariachi singer father after a 30-year absence. The way the comedian ties this textured piece together with several of the show’s earlier fragments is masterful, clever and embracing.



‘The Fluffy Movie’

MPAA rating: PG-13 for suggestive material and sexual references

Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes

Playing: In general release.