Oy, It’s Elvis

SCHMELVIS: SEARCHING FOR THE KING'S JEWISH ROOTS (Max Wallace) Rating: NNN Rating: NNNMade by a scruffy gang of Gen-Xers, Schmelvis.


Rating: NNN

Made by a scruffy gang of Gen-Xers, Schmelvis follows the filmmakers on a trek from Montreal to the American Deep South to Israel, as they attempt to gather evidence supporting their theory (posited by the Wall Street Journal, no less) that Elvis was partly Jewish. The crew includes a cigarette-smoking rabbi, the “token Gentile” sound guy and the Schmelvis of the title, a Chasidic Presley-wannabe with a punim (face) only a mother could love. There are moments of utter hilarity — Elvis Week in Graceland and Schmelvis doing his shtick in Jerusalem are highlights — but overall the boys come off as a tad too self-righteous. They’re trying hard to trigger racist remarks from the folks they encounter. Trouble is, nobody seems to give a peanut butter and ‘nana sandwich about the King’s religious convictions — and it’s never clear why we should care either. Schmelvis kicks off this year’s Toronto Jewish Film Festival. (April 20, 9:15 pm, Bloor)

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