Ten months to Christmas. That's what Valentine's Day means to me.
For every crappy show or bad movie that Netflix acquires, the streaming service almost always manages to pick up a truly unique property. This time it’s the variety special Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special that is equal parts hysterical and fabulous. Directors Scott Aukerman and Akiva Schaffer are able to tap into Bolton’s talents as a singer and, now, a comedy professional. And Bolton himself hones his chops as a multitalented artist.
Once the special starts, it’s easy to see what kind of reality Bolton lives in. He can sing and dance only to have others join in instantly. A douchey version of Adam Scott is friends with him, calling in to suggest a hang out. But Bolton says he has plans and introduces the viewer to the first musical number. Immediately it can be seen that this is an homage to Christmas specials of the 70’s with nods to the era. But, with a quick turn, a new element is added in with the telethon aspect complete with celebrity phone bank users (Janeane Garafalo, Sinbad, Louie Anderson, Bob Saget, and Andy Richter). It’s a good joke, too, for those that grew up with the seemingly monthly PBS donation center showcases.
But the special evolves yet again and continues to evolve with every second, never resting on a single scene or bit for too long (although it does linger from time to time). Take Andy Samberg’s Kenny G – Bolton’s nemesis -- who provides the keys to Bolton’s final moments in the special. Or Maya Rudolph’s singer or Will Forte’s bad brother Michael Fulton who is as lame as his name suggests. This special is packed with nuggets of comedy goodness that add to the insanity that is included in the runtime. A song number can be interrupted for a behind the scenes look as to how it was made – a great gag on its own. Or a cooking segment can reveal the true intentions of one of the guest cake eaters. There are even quick, not-supposed-to-be-funny cameos like the Birthday Boys popping up as background singers in the Jack Sparrow song.
Performances are nothing without the writing. The script from Aukerman, Schaffer, Dave Ferguson, Mike Hanford, Tim Kalpakis, and Joe Saunders is well suited for the subject matter. It’s as haphazard as any telethon and joyful as an episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! (the TV show). Special guests are on point as well thanks to the likes of Sarah Silverman, Randal Park, Casey Wilson, Fred Armisen, Tim Robinson, Eric Andre, Chris Parnell, Colton Dunn, Nicole Bayer and a cavalcade of others.
Should you watch Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special?
This entire thing is a comedy nerd’s dream. The guests, the jokes and everything else surrounding it can probably only be enjoyed to their fullest extent if you’re a fan of The Lonely Island or anything that Scott Aukerman has produced. In that case, it’s a must watch. But replay value is not completely there.