Can revered entertainment manager Shep Gordon, profiled in the so-crazy-you-wouldn’t-believe-it Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, really have entered the business as Jimi Hendrix’s drug dealer? Stranger things have happened. As Gordon now remembers it, this was after being punched in the face by Janis Joplin. You want to believe things like this could happen to a college kid in the right place. With winning candor (of the no-nonsense Jewish variety), Gordon brushes off his best stories, like the one about putting a chicken onstage for glammy client Alice Cooper to abuse, then calling the cops on his own show, acting like an incensed parent for publicity’s sake. It worked.
Negotiations, from hustling to furious bluff-calling, thrum through the documentary, a cousin to Robert Evans’s velvet-voiced The Kid Stays in the Picture and catnip to those who love the scrappier, ancient side of Hollywood deal-making. “Coupons” are what Gordon calls his good deeds, and he’s amassed a jaw-dropping number of them from gushing A-listers happy to reveal both the smooth operator and the occasional jerk.
Viciously funny and a touch sentimental (cancer scare, etc.), the doc bears an atypically vervy style for a first-time filmmaker, Wayne’s World star Mike Myers, who touches on his own rough patch and Gordon’s saintly intervention. It’s a portrait that’s equal parts shtick and soul—in other words, exactly what The Love Guru should have been.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf