More Questions Than Answers in ‘Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon’

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CHICAGO – Not much is really revealed about the subject of the documentary “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” co-directed by comedian Mike Myers. Shep is a rock star agent, Shep gets rich, Shep shares his Hawaiian beach condo with big stars, Shep represents gourmet chefs, Shep likes to cook and Shep strangely wants kids, despite being in his sixties and not being able to maintain any domestic relationship. There is no there in this film, only the spoils of good representation.

There are definitely more questions than answers by the end of this film, regarding what is revealed about Shep Gordon – and more importantly, what isn’t revealed. He seems a nice enough guy on the surface, but a “super-mensch”? You really have to back up such a title with some real humanity, not getting multi-million contracts and having a nice beach condo. There is no doubt that Shep Gordon is a good friend to Mike Myers and the other celebrities that are profiled regarding him, but what was revealed about him – even in his fostering of a family – wasn’t enough for the super-mensch title and to sustain a documentary treatment that is released in theaters.

Fresh out of college in the late 1960s, Shep Gordon lucked into a situation that began him on a path as an agent for rock groups and singers. His main client becomes Alice Cooper, and it is Shep’s guidance that creates superstardom for the rocker. And since this is the 1970s, he also picks up acts like Anne Murray, Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass.

Shep Gordon
The Title Subject Has an Awesome Hawaiian Beach House in ‘Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon’
Photo credit: RADIUS-TWC

When the money starts rolling in, Gordon buys a condo in Maui, where he becomes known as a great host and escape hatch for clients, friends and stars. He meets Mike Myers on the ‘Wayne’s World’ set in 1991, and Myers becomes one of his house guests. Around the same time he originates a whole new type of celebrity, when he begins to represent chefs. Despite all the trappings, he desires to have a family of his own, but can’t seem to get to that point.

The answered questions in the documentary pretty much centers around the notion that Shep Gordon is a nice guy, generous with time and space for his clients and friends. We all know a lot of people like that, if we’re lucky. But what is hinted at, and hidden, is that Shep Gordon seems like a lonely guy, not able to sustain any sort of marriage or relationship, and needs the reassurance of his celebrity friends to complete his life. It helps to read between the lines in this film.

The rock and roll history through Gordon’s eyes is fairly interesting, spiced with some recreated scenes using actors. Alice Cooper’s act was in the eye of the 1970s glam rock revolution, and Shep milked it for all it was worth. It’s great to see the archival haircuts and audacity of the rock star in that day, and Shep was along to provide that audacity. He was obviously a shrewd operator, and made music stars out of more than a couple big names.

The film starts to flag when the personal history of Gordon is on display. There is an odd reiteration that “Shep wants children,” and he even helps foster a family that he knows along the way. But even the celebrities interviewed repeat the children mantra, yet Shep has left a trail of a couple marriages behind where that could have been possible. What, exactly, is he waiting for?

Alice Cooper, Shep Gordon
Go Ask Alice: Cooper and Gordon Back in the Day in ‘Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon’
Photo credit: RADIUS-TWC

Gordon also is proud of what his cash has bought him – he has had the cars, girlfriends and beach homes to match his outsized success. The documentary also wants to make sure that it’s known that Gordon is a gourmet cook, and through representation invented the celebrity chef. How that information is life changing or even interesting went past me. If Shep wants to invite me to his Maui condo and cook me a gourmet meal – or have one of his clients do it – then I’m in, but I don’t know if I’d make a movie about it. That’s how inside this film feels.

Yet in the end, there is no crime in making this film. Business is business, and if this documentary allows Austin Powers to “yeah baby,” all he wants in a Hawaiian playground, then so be it. If only he could carry Shep Gordon’s child, then all would be well for the super-mensch.

“Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon” continues its limited release in Chicago on June 13th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring interviews with Shep Gordon, Mike Myers, Tom Arnold, Alice Cooper, Michael Douglas, Emeril Lagasse and Sylvester Stallone. Directed by Mike Myers and Beth Aala. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Senior Staff Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2014 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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