An expectantly funny but surprisingly sweet story about the King of All Media with his college sweetheart and his rise to become the biggest name in Radio.
Writers: Len Blum (Screenplay) Howard Stern (Book)
Director: Betty Thomas
Stars: Howard Stern, Mary McCormack and Robin Quivers
Runtime/Rating: 109 Minutes/ R
Popcorn Score: Large Popcorn
In order to enjoy Private Parts, you will have to get over the fact that the movie opens with Stern dressed in ass-less chaps as the superhero Fartman, farting ass-out to a stadium full of screaming fans. There is also gratuitous nudity throughout along with many of the other antics that Howard Stern has come to be known for on his radio program. If you can get over those minor details, you will really enjoy the first movie starring and telling the story about the King of All Media.
Private Parts isn’t actually as much shock jock as you would expect in Stern’s first movie. He weeded through dozens of scripts to find the right one that told his story properly and he ultimately chose a very good one that will give his fan base everything they are looking for without turning everyone else off.
Stern had anything but the easy road to get where he is today. Like many in the radio industry he spent time moving up and down the dial from city to city with more Program Directors that he would ever like to meet. After leaving a station in Detroit for, amongst other reasons hating the change to country music, he realizes in a moment with his wife Alison that he needs to be himself on air and tell the truth. He said that he needs to “go it all the way”. Armed with that new approach he arrived in Washington DC where he is paired up with a news woman named Robin Quivers and the show truly begins to take shape and become what we know it as today. After he achieves success in Washington he is brought to New York City to be on WNBC. A deal that promised him, if all goes well, nationwide syndication. It was a rocky road to success on WNBC, the very corporate station that was constantly attempting to reel him in. Paul Giamatti, in a hilarious performance as the program director, volunteers to be Sterns mentor of sorts and promises the executives that he will either straighten Stern out, or drive him so crazy that he’ll quit. The group develops with the addition of Sterns real life companions Fred Norris and Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling. The NBC executives eventually give up the fight after realizing that the battle is unwinnable, and that despite much of the public’s disdain for the provocative morning man, fans and foes are tuning in more than ever before. Mainly because “they want to hear what he is going to say next”.
The other aspect of the film that is both engaging and touching is the relationship between Howard stern and his wife. They are a struggling young couple that continued to be there for each other despite every issue that would come up. Every one of those issues also being told for the world to hear when Howard went on the air each day. This is the part of the movie that was completely unexpected to me. I imagined it being much more of a late-night comedy with shit jokes, lesbian bits and nudity strung together for 90 minutes but screenwriter Len Blum really created a full, funny and touching story. Private Parts ends up being a much better than average behind the scenes looks at one aspect of the entertainment industry.