If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Summary: If you are like me, one of the greatest days of your life was the day you discovered "The Winnebago Man", a compilation of outtakes from a promotional video gone horribly awry. The reason for the brilliance of the video is a man named Jack Rebney, a man who forgot his lines, mercilessly harassed the crew, and commented on the idiotic nature of his own dialogue. After recovering from the epidemic of laughter that swept through the land, America was left with just one question: Who is Jack Rebney?
Ben Steinbauer, a documentarian with nobility in his heart and courage in his mind, decided to step up to the plate and take the daunting task of tracking down Mr. Rebney. After multiple Google searches and a visit to a private detective, Steinbauer finally finds the true Jack Rebney, although the results are initially disappointing. A sweet, well spoken old man who lives a life of monk-like solitude in a remote cabin expresses remorse at his coarse language and attitude he adhered to in the past. Steinbauer, seemingly defeated, retreats back home, only to be contacted by Rebney a few weeks later with a startling confession: the innocent Jack Rebney Ben had met before was a charade, and the real Jack was dying to get out. From this point, we begin to see Jack Rebney as he truly is: a bitter, cantankerous, but somehow lovable old man who has an affinity for cursing.
Review: Over the next hour, we begin to see a genuine relationship grow between Ben and Jack, and this relationship is easily the strongpoint of the movie. Ben’s patience and gentle nature acts as a perfect antithesis to Jack’s short-fused attitude and explosive personality. As the two begin to bond, the audience takes a trip through Rebney’s mind, finding potential clues as to why The Winnebago Man is the disgruntled, frustrated shell of a man he is now. Although the movie never probes as deep into Rebney’s psyche as it ought to, leaving many questions posed at the beginning unanswered, it still provides a fascinating look at a terminally angry man. Although this journey through the mind could end up being dark and depressing due to the somewhat tragic nature of its subject, Rebney throws in enough absurdists’ quips throughout the movie to keep things light and entertaining, creating the perfect mix of comedy and drama. And yes, the movie is quite funny at certain points (a live appearance by Rebney at a comedy club left me in stitches.) Overall, Winnebago man fails on some level by sidestepping some of the darker elements of Rebney’s character, but it more than makes up for it with a great dynamic between the two leads and some genuinely funny moments.