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'Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me' review: One of a kind

March 06, 2014|Matt Pais, @mattpais | RedEye movie critic

***1/2 (out of four)

Even if you don't know the inimitable Stritch as the Tony- and Emmy-winning theater legend she is, you've seen her as Jack's mom on "30 Rock." She's in her late 80s, but if she were any sharper the screen would tear. In the often-hilarious doc "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me," the woman who picked up JFK and made Kirk Douglas fall in love with her represents a battle between the realities of aging and an unquenchable spirit. (The film suggests that even when Stritch's body fails her, her mind will go on forever.) Tina Fey and many others comment on how the showbiz icon is tough but worth it, so much that it makes you think about the reason people like salty food. Stritch cuts through B.S. to lovable effect, though director Chiemi Karasawa's choice to skirt traditional biographical information leaves a small storytelling hole regarding Stritch's past and her need to find love from audiences. No matter. She's an original straight-shooter, and the doc's not far from a bull's-eye.

Originally published during the 2013 Chicago International Film Festival

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