Private Parts [1997]

Give credit to director Betty Thomas for making the notorious Howard Stern, self-proclaimed "king of all media," into a nerdish but appealing media rebel who loves his wife and family. Even if you hate Stern's rude radio show, you may discover that the underdog charm of this warm, whimsical film (based on Stern's autobiography) turns you into a fan--for the length of the film at least. Stern delivers a winning performance as the clumsy college kid and aspiring disc-jockey-turned-demon-shock-jock, who becomes an unlikely hero as he battles station managers, network executives, and conservative "arbiters of decency" in the name of unfettered bad taste. Mary McCormack is fine as his understanding wife, Alison, and longtime Stern sidekicks Robin Quivers and Fred Norris acquit themselves nicely appearing as themselves. By the end of this smart, funny little film, don't be surprised if you find yourself cheering for the slob. --Sean Axmaker

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