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Fisher's wit on full display in 'Wishful Drinking'

Thursday, September 15, 2011

(Photo)
In a stage show as brazen and brass as she, Carrie Fisher gives us "Wishful Drinking", an exploration through her life that filled with interesting and funny stories about life with her famous parents Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher and her battles with mental illness.

What you see is what you get in "Wishful Drinking". It's a straightforward presentation with Fisher holding the spotlight all on her and relishing every minute. Forever remembered by her iconic role at Princess Leia in George Lucas' "Star Wars", many forget that she's a successful author, screenwriter and script doctor. What's nice about "Wishful Drinking" is you get to see her wit on full display, especially when she goes through her tangled extended family tree through its many marriages in a hilarious segment call "Hollywood Inbreeding 101".

Fisher is at ease with the crowd, whether roaming the stage or sitting and sipping tea as if she was weaving tales on her front porch as the sun bids farewell. While the stories are funny, it's the one-liners or short bursts that are the best. When she describes being born "to simple folk -- people of the land" when referring to her parents who at that time were Hollywood royalty is wonderful.

The show then delves into her teenage and adult life, her times with ex-husband Paul Simon and waking to find a dead male friend in her bed. If that doesn't pique your interest, nothing will. While she talks about the struggles and issues that have affected her life, she never once feels story for herself, instead finding the funny in every instance and focuses on that, much to the delight of her audience.

She begins and ends the show by singing "Happy Days are Here Again", and while she's forever associated with the Star Wars franchise, it's easy to forget she's worked the stage before with her mother. Her voice, while weathered by hard living still has power.

The DVD also has a few deleted scenes and a great interview with her mother, Debbie Reynolds, who even at 78 commands your full attentions. The best part of the interview for me was the beginning before it even begins as she's prepping herself with lipstick, showing that once you're Hollywood royalty, you're always royalty. However, as funny as Reynolds can be, when she discusses Fisher's battle with bipolar disorder, it's as heartbreaking as it comes.

Final Cut: While there are some jokes that miss their mark, "Wishful Drinking" is a hilarious look at a Hollywood icon's life, warts and all.

4 out of 5 stars