“Rodriguez keeps things short at the beginning, and also manages to give us about ninety-five minutes of winning comedy material, directed slickly and assisted by Iglesias’s incredible stamina and timing.”
The first comedy special I saw with comedian Gabriel Iglesias, “I’m Not Fat… I’m Fluffy,” I was sorry I didn’t see any of the man’s work sooner. Iglesias beared a zealous comedic drive that was difficult to find in many comics today, maneuvering through topics of eating, family, and father/son relationships, along with just being that overweight, goofball friend we all know. These are the key reasons that Iglesias has propelled to incredible, global success in the field of standup comedy, and answers why we are finally seeing his first theatrical film appear on the billboards of our local multiplexes.
The Fluffy Movie, which chronicles two performances in San Diego, seamlessly intertwining together with no distracting or abrupt jumps, shows Iglesias at the most comically and emotionally potent levels I’ve ever seen the man. For over ninety minutes, Iglesias entertains and wows with his blend of relatable comedy in the fields of diet, exercise, friends, family, relationships with a child that isn’t yours, and much more in probably his most entertaining moments captured on film.
Iglesias, known by his nickname “Fluffy,” as the film’s title indicates, opens and closes by discussing stunningly emotional issues for him, which are diet and weight issues and reconnecting with estranged family members, respectively. He opens by saying that he has lost over one-hundred pounds after his peak weight reached four-hundred and forty-five pounds; “that’s not ‘fluffy,’ that’s Discovery Channel fat!,” he tells the packed house. After learning he had Type 2 Diabetes, Iglesias tried to reduce his sugar and overall food intake by limiting excess eating, but still eats fast food daily, consuming the meat and spare condiments off his hamburgers and three large Diet Cokes. He says that once he heard his doctor say he had two years at most to live, he cut down his diet considerably. “If I eat like this, I get a lot of cholesterol, which will kill me in ten years, rather than diabetes, which will kill me in two. I just bought myself eight years; that’s what I call ‘Fluffy Math,'” he tells us.
Iglesias moves on, discussing his heavy drinking habits, his wild encounter at a bar with a gay man, his hilarious stories about touring in India, and finally utilizing the last forty minutes of the one-hundred and one minute special by talking about connecting more with his often disconnected son and meeting his father after thirty long years. One thing that still remains true about Iglesias, which makes him one of the most unique and versatile comics working today, are his impressions. Iglesias can mimic anything, from everyday sounds, to unique, one-of-a-kind sounds, to flawless impressions of celebrities, different races, and more. Consider the monologue when he shows how different races express themselves using their heads, from Indians, to Mexicans, to African-Americans. The bit is incredibly funny and propels itself along solely by Iglesias’s amazing impression work.
On top of that, The Fluffy Movie hits its emotional stride in the last twenty-five minutes or so, really painting the picture of a grown-man meeting his father for the first time, sitting down and talking to him, as well as helping work his son, who isn’t his biological son, mind you, work through the problems he had with his father and about a possible rekindling down the road. Even while tackling these heavy subjects, it’s stunning how Iglesias can still blend humor and heartbreak, never dabbing too much into one and avoiding the other or throwing off the entire rhythm and tone of a comedy special.
Not to mention, thankfully, director Manny Rodriguez, who directs all of Iglesias’s specials, from his Comedy Central specials to his now cinematic one, doesn’t spend too much time on the opening skit, which lasts a tolerable five minutes and provides for some genuine laughs. Walking into The Fluffy Movie, I was reminded of when Kevin Hart made me sit through a fifteen minute skit during his sophomore theatrical comedy special Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, intruding on the already limited time we had together (seventy-five minutes with credits). Rodriguez keeps things short at the beginning, and also manages to give us about ninety-five minutes of winning comedy material, directed slickly and assisted by Iglesias’s incredible stamina and timing. If many more comedians are going to start having one of their comedy specials come to theaters (something I wouldn’t object to), then they have another poster-child for a successful one, alongside the ones made by Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Martin Lawrence.