Published May 19, 2020A hall-of-fame stand-up comedian, Patton Oswalt gets the hilarious I Love Everything going with an interesting bit of foreshadowing.
We encounter Oswalt in the midst of a bit about Denny's and things get meta, as he confesses that if anything is faltering about the segment, it's because of him, not Denny's. And then in a flash, we leave the bit, get to the intro, and then jump back in time to Oswalt on the same oval-shaped stage, beginning his set, and warning us there may be some bumps later on in the show.
It's playful and exhibits some editing panache ahead of some very funny material that runs through various periods in Oswalt's life. Whether it's being a guy who just turned 50 and has taken to hiking for a "workout," to his younger days, as a wedding DJ in his hometown of Sterling, Virginia, Oswalt has a unique gift. He speaks with the cadence and heightened vocabulary of a well-read artist, omnisciently narrating his own life story with bemusement. The 'adult-ing' stories about contractors and sub-contractors are as surreally relatable, as they are just fucking funny.
Oswalt is simply a remarkable performer, incorporating voices, sounds and subtle mic techniques to elevate his well-written jokes just that much more. It's an effortless display of craftsmanship; all of the work Oswalt has put into these jokes and stories is nearly invisible.
When things get a bit heavy, with a no-fuss but very amusing riff on the more absurd behavioural patterns by the monsters implicated in #MeToo or a connection between the Bible and ancient grains, Oswalt has to be a bit more mindful of the minefields he's traversing. And the aforementioned Denny's bit, about a visit he and his daughter paid to a restaurant near their house, is a lumbering one, so the pacing and beats and tangents are all carefully monitored and measured so that he gets us all to his destination in one happy piece.
Ultimately, though, I Love Everything is a warm-hearted special. Oswalt's voice is a critical one — but just because his perspectives aren't sugarcoated doesn't mean they're bitter. Here's a guy who has overcome unimaginable grief and can still see the joy in all of life's fuckery. He loves his wife and daughter and the lives they get to lead, and he appreciates pop culture when it's at its best. All of this and more shine through on I Love Everything, a showcase for Patton Oswalt operating at the top of his game. (Netflix)