May 3, 2010...10:21 am

Tribeca Review: Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work

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Joan Rivers really is a piece of work, and I’m not just referring to the plastic face: the woman is always on. Now that Rivers has made a place for herself as the butt of all our jokes, her long road to fame and fortune, her many accomplishments and her hardworking attitude are often overlooked. She’s not just a raspy voiced woman with her heels firmly planted in the plush of the red carpet, but an active standup comedian and an avid business woman.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work opens in a very profound way, with several shots of Rivers without makeup. It isn’t as profound as you might imagine, focusing only on small portions of her mug at a time, but it establishes right from the start that Rivers’ guard is down and we’re really about to get an inside look. Director Ricki Stern and Anne Sunberg’s film follows Rivers through an entire year, and from the outset she isn’t ashamed to admit that it’s a rough one, in which her datebook consists primarily of the thing she dreads the most: blank white pages. In fact, Rivers isn’t ashamed much of anything, and she often pokes fun at her own plastic surgery overdose and tosses in a few jokes about her low rung on the fame ladder.

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