I was looking up an actor from another film to see what he had done since the early 90's film I was watching him in and the title of this film jumped out at me from his resume. As a big Wire fan I had to go and see what this was and when I saw it was a Funny or Die sketch I figured it was maybe going to be funny (they are not as consistent as they would like to think). This short film is essentially an advert for the stage show musical (very off-Broadway) version of The Wire, covering all 5 seasons in 90 minutes. As such it is basically the same joke as The Simpsons have done with the musical version of Planet of the Apes or Streetcar – as an idea funny but it comes down to the delivery.
The delivery is great. The songs are pretty clever in their throwaway nature and the tragic "Only a Burner" was my personal favourite. The short features several of the original cast reprising their roles and they do this with good humour although for a few I would have preferred they hadn't simply because the jokes were a bit too close to digging at their own best work. So for Sohn it was fine but with Williams and Gilliard delivering mocking versions of some of their very strongest scenes (checkers on a chess board and the courtroom scene respectively) it did feel a little wrong. That said they are both still funny and they work better than the single joke that "Snoop" Pearson turns up for. The stand-in actors actually work a bit better because they allow the thing to feel as cheap and unofficial as it should do – Stringer Bell is odd but I loved the Jimmy McNulty bit.
It never doesn't feel wrong, but it works because it is very familiar with the material and mostly very funny in its presentation and its content. Wire fans may, like me, feel a bit odd seeing something so beloved being mocked, but it is done with intelligence and wit.
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