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95 Miles to Go (DVD Review)

3 Jun, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Box Office $0.003 million
$16.95 DVD
Rated ‘R’ for language.
Stars Ray Romano, Tom Caltabiano.

In 2001, during a hiatus of the popular sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” series namesake and veteran stand-up comic Ray Romano hit the road with long-time friend and opening act Tom Caltabiano touring comedy clubs throughout Florida and Georgia.

Caltabiano, who also wrote for “Raymond,” decided to film a documentary of the tour, much to the displeasure of Romano. The comic, who was on the cusp of becoming the highest-paid actor on television, finally agreed to the idea only if it were done without a large film crew.

Thus was chosen a wide-eyed intern and USC film student, along with two strategically placed dashboard video cameras, to shoot 130 hours of footage on the trip.

The trek consisted of Romano and Caltabiano flying from Los Angeles to Miami (catching an in-flight episode of “Raymond”) and then driving (Romano has a fear of flying) a rental car 1,000 miles along Interstate 95 to gigs at convention centers and local theaters in seven cities in eight days.

95 Miles to Go proves quite entertaining showcasing Romano’s effortless situational humor and slightly self-deprecating wit engaging airport personnel, overly eager restaurant and hotel staff, and autograph-seeking fans (“This is going straight to eBay,” he quips). Like Jerry Seinfeld, Romano’s humor is largely observational instead of shock-jock.

This is impressive, considering Romano’s (and Caltabiano’s) life on the road consists primarily of eating whatever is within arm’s reach (typically Subway sandwiches, hotel minibars, room service) and watching lots of golf on TV.

Romano does come alive on stage reciting jokes and dialogue by memory — an act he admits gets boring without experimenting with new material. This slightly backfires one time when Romano makes a joke about oral sex before a corporate audience, which leaves one female handler giggling nervously about how the boss might react.

He needn’t have worried because when the lights come up, everybody indeed loves Raymond.

The disc includes two hours of bonus material featuring Romano and Caltabiano plugging the doc (including at SXSW), a stand-up performance in Kansas City, and extended and deleted scenes.

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