Pauly Shore seems to be trying to steer his career from being a washed up b-lister to being a self-aware washed up b-lister. Pauly Shore is Dead was his first dabbling into mockumentaries about himself, and now he has followed it up with Adopted. This yarn is about Shore, following the trend set by Angelina Jolie and Madonna, of flying to Africa (and later Cambodia) to adopt a child, with the hopes that being a father would fill a void in his shallow Hollywood hills life.
Shore travels to South Africa and does one day trials with three different children to see who he would like to take back to America. Each situation always goes wrong after Shore chases after a girl or girls. This format plays out episodically until he returns home.
The central characters are all actors but Shore does have some impromptu interactions with real members of the Cape Town community. Shore tries to channel Borat in some situations by saying or doing rather offensive things to coax a big reaction, but usually he is just his normal, often-obnoxious self. In fact, his various noises, constant celebrity references and lack of structure jokes becomes just as grating me as a viewer as it seems to be with the Africans.
Whatever Shore set out to prove with this film, he doesn’t seem to do it. There is not enough satire going after the trend of celebrity adoptions, what little we see of his stand-up routine is not good, and Shore hardly has the charisma to warrant us following him on any sort of journey. The kids are extremely cute, the women he chases are gorgeous, the people of the community are more interesting than Shore by leaps and bounds imply by existing as they are, and a couple of self-deprecating jabs at Shore’s expense are worth a chuckle but that is about all the value you are going to get from this.
Widescreen 1.78:1. The picture is quite nice. A documentary can sometimes be grainy but since this is all staged they had a chance to put some polish onto it.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and 2.0 are both available. The music is well balanced in the speakers and the dialogue is very clear.Not that there is a whole lot one would want to be immersed into, the sound quality is there to do so in Surround.
Closed captioning available in English.
Bonus Scenes: Mostly a collection of deleted and extended scenes. Some of these scenes appeared inexplicably after the official film credits, only now they’re being presented in much lower quality. All of his LA footage and more scenes from the extremely brief Cambodia scene are amongst the 55 minutes of material.
Its short and might have enough inherent charm (being in South Africa) to get much of the audience through it, but really it seems that Shore has one good idea and is riding it through the entire film, just as he had one arguably decent comic persona (The Weasel) and rode that for many more years than he should have.