Film-Forward Review: [95 MILES TO GO]

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Tom Caltabiano (L) &
Ray Romano onstage
Photo: THINKFilm

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Directed by: Tom Caltabiano.
Produced by: Tom Caltabiano & Ray Romano.
Director of Photography: Roger Lay, Jr.
Edited by: Cheyenne Pesko.
Music by: Adam Gorgoni.
Released by: THINKFilm.
Country of Origin: USA. 77 min. Rated: R.
With: Ray Romano & Tom Caltabiano.

Everybody Loves Raymond fans will delight in this sneak peak into the life of its star, Ray Romano, as he travels with his best buddy and opening act Tony Caltabiano on an eight-day comedy tour. Conceived during a hiatus from the television show, 95 Miles to Go documents the duo and a Raymond intern, Roger Lay, Jr. (a USC film student), on a thousand-mile road trip through Florida and Georgia. The trio travels from Los Angeles to Miami by plane, but Ray insists they drive to their other destinations Ė he is afraid of flying. In one of the filmís revealing moments, Raymond, while in flight, watches himself on one of those CBS promotional programs that it seems every airline airs. The camera pans close to Ray and itís interesting to notice that he appears equals parts amused and frightened watching himself.

There are a few of these moments where the audience gets the sense that the seemingly unguarded Ray is just a regular, neurotic guy despite the gazillion dollar salary he was making before his show left the air. In one scene, he refuses to drink from a bottle of water because the cap had been twisted open when it arrived at his table. Rather than have the waitress think heís a nut, he tells her itís Tony who is paranoid. Wherever they go, fans stop and ask for Rayís autograph and he happily obliges. His audience, skewing mostly middle-aged to older, seems to enjoy the typical jokes he tells about his wife and four children. And I myself did laugh at many of them after my initial shock of hearing Ray Romano talk about oral sex had passed.

The onstage footage isnít necessarily what makes the film so good; itís watching Ray and Tony interact. The pair, former roommates who had been performing standup together for 10 years, is a variation of The Odd Couple Ė Ray is fastidious and likes to be punctual, Tony is pretty messy and has no concept of time. They bicker over where to eat Ė not just any Subway will do; what Ray should wear on stage; and how much of Rayís money Tony is spending on room service. At the heart, though, itís obvious they are the best of friends and would be lost without each other. (I have a set of office mates who are exactly the same way so I recognize the signs.) For fans and non-fans alike, go for the ride. Tanya Chesterfield
April 7, 2006



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