What the %$#!? He's Known as Radio's Bad Boy. 'Private Parts' Exposes the Real Howard Stern in All His Crude Glory

By Gire, Dann | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 7, 1997 | Go to article overview

What the %$#!? He's Known as Radio's Bad Boy. 'Private Parts' Exposes the Real Howard Stern in All His Crude Glory


Gire, Dann, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Dann Gire Daily Herald Film Critic

"Private Parts"

* * * 1/2

Written by Len Blum. Produced by Ivan Reitman. Directed by Betty Thomas. A Paramount Pictures release. Rated R (sexual situations, drug use, language) 111 minutes.

Cast:

   Howard Stern     Howard Stern
   Allison Stern    Mary McCormack
   Robin Quivers    Robin Quivers
   Fred Norris      Fred Norris
   Kenny            Paul Giamatti

Most people spend their lives making themselves adjust to the world.

Howard Stern made the world adjust to him.

If that doesn't qualify Stern as an artist, then Picasso must have been a commodities broker.

After hearing Stern's ribald brand of so-called "shock jock" radio, few people fall into the "no opinion" category. His fans worship him and the honesty he extols; his enemies despise him and the toilet talk he espouses.

I have never been a member of either camp. Still, "Private Parts" took me by surprise.

Not the glib and superficial gabfest you might expect (or at least I expected), "Private Parts" tells a rousing adventure of a flawed but lovable underdog triumphing in the swashbuckling world of treacherous big-time radio.

Stern's comic bio-drama, based on his best seller of the same title, provides an illuminating and surprisingly touching story of how this American broadcasting phenomenon came to be.

Narrated in first-person commentary that acts like comic napalm, Stern whisks us through the high points of his life, beginning as a small, misunderstood child constantly called "moron!" by his father.

We go with Stern to college where he fumbles through his first attempts to do collegiate radio, and where he meets the love of his life, Allison (played by the cute and charismatic Mary McCormack).

Here, Stern boldly plays himself as an adult, complete with Mr. Kotter mustache and hair. (Stern's narrator admits he looks a bit old for college, "but you have to suspend your disbelief!")

We witness Stern's first jobs in professional radio when he looked and sounded like a member of the Muppets. We travel to Washington, D.C., where he meets his future partner, newscaster Robin Quivers (played by the real Quivers), and he gradually acquires the famous crew of wackos we hear today on WCKG (105. …

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