Opens Fri Nov 29
Call me crazy, but when I heard about a documentary film exploring Elvis' Jewish roots, including a Hasidic Jew Elvis impersonator, I thought it might be entertaining. Insane Elvis fans are always a good time, as are Elvis impersonators, as are people so insanely fanatical that they dedicate themselves to proving Elvis was Jewish. But I was wrong, though Schmelvis is still entertaining for other reasons.
The film starts out with an obviously rich, late-20s club type guy making phone calls to his rich friends. He explains how he read an article in the Wall Street Journal a couple of years ago that posited that the King might be a Jew based on the fact that his great-great-grandmother might have been a Jew. Yeah. I know, you're asleep already. But stay tuned.
Somehow, the rich, shiny-panted boy rounds up like ten million dollars and six travelling partners (including a Jewish Elvis impersonator, obnoxious rabbi, and some rich buddies credited as Producers) to go down to Memphis in a nice camper in an attempt to prove that Elvis was indeed Jewish.
When they arrive in the South, the newly formed Jewish Outsiders do their best to incite anti-Semitism, anger, or at the very least, interest in the possibility of Elvis Presley being a Jew. But it turns out no one really gives a shit. The boys go so far as to say Jewish prayers above Elvis' grave, but no one cares about that either. Then the seven of them all up and go to Israel.
No one in Israel really cares if Elvis was a Jew either, and one rabbi goes so far as to say, "the Jews are always trying to claim everyone as their own, I'm always very skeptical of this kind of stuff." The impersonator plants a tree for Elvis in the holy land and they return home with little meat for a documentary film.
Any enjoyment of Schmelvis is found in watching a bunch of talentless, over-privileged morons try and make a film about something they themselves don't even care that much about. Their serious meetings are laughable, their interviews are pathetic, and their huge budget would make any indie filmmaker pull their hair out. But it's kind of funny to watch.