In Soviet Russia, Raymond Loves You!

Theatrical Release Date: 04/29/2011
Director: Philip Rosenthal
Rated: PG for brief language and smoking.
Runtime: 1 hour, 26 minutes


Deja Vu!

Apparently the term “Everybody” doesn’t include me because I was never a fan of the TV sitcom, “Everybody Loves Raymond”. Ray Romano’s whiny neuroses failed to do anything but make me change the channel.

I bring this up in order to maintain transparency in the review. I’m basically the anti-demographic but was hopeful that the documentary, “Exporting Raymond” would provide some laughs as the show gets lost in translation under the Iron Curtain. The film follows series creator Phil Rosenthal, as he attempts to convey the sensibilities of the show to the Russian team hoping this will follow in the footsteps of other American sitcoms that made the leap like “The Nanny” and “Who’s the Boss?”.

One thing became quite apparent almost immediately upon watching this, and that’s how similar Rosenthal is to “Curb Your Enthusiasm” scribe Larry David. Seeing as that was another show that missed the mark for me, this was just one more thing getting in the way of making the documentary entertaining.

So let’s recap: 1) I don’t like the show and 2) I’m annoyed by the creator. Not a good start.

Adding to the problems is a useless subplot about the possible health status of Rosenthal’s driver. Who cares about this guy? What makes him integral to the making of the show in Russia? Oh, he’s interesting to Rosenthal so we’re supposed to find him interesting too? Ugh. And why not devote some time to more interesting subject material like the artistic director at the Moscow Art Theatre, who blocks their attempt to use one of his actors because he doesn’t feel a sitcom is deserving of his talents? Double ugh.

I would imagine that people who loved the TV show would find far more humor and enjoyment. I fully capitulate again that I’m not the target audience. That being said, there were some moments when the Russians involved provided a few laughs and it was interesting to see the cultural differences, though some good editing could have culled this down to maybe thirty minutes of truly usable material. A 2 out of 5, “Exporting Raymond” isn’t a bad idea for a documentary but it failed to follow the avenues provided along the way and merely chugged along like the easter egg it should have been on some season DVD box set.

2 out of 5