Review: The Arrested Development Documentary Project


Like a large number of people, I didn’t take Arrested Development‘s cancellation well. To be fair, I preferred to catch the show on DVD rather than watch it during Fox broadcasts because of my personal preference of TV digestion (marathon viewings, no waiting, no commercials, captions); I admit, I was probably part of the problem that caused the show’s untimely demise.

With a revival in the form of a Netflix-exclusive 4th season premiering this week, it’s only fitting that The Arrested Development Documentary Project found its release this month. Directed by two self-admitted Arrested Development superfans, the documentary shares some insight on the history behind the series directly from various cast and crew, including Mitch Hurwitz, Ron Howard, and a majority of the cast, as well as a number of fans.

However, how well does the documentary fare compared to the numerous behind-the-scenes features on the series’ DVDs?

The Arrested Development Documentary Project
Directors: Jeff Smith and Neil Lieberman
Rating: N/A
Release Date: May 3, 2013 (Buy the film here)

The Arrested Development Documentary Project was made by the fans for the fans. With that said, there’s a bit of a direction that Jeff Smith and Neil Lieberman follow. The documentary is kind of framed in a way to help bring exposure and awareness to the series, which I believe to be the primary purpose of the project.

The doc opens with the two asking people if they’ve heard about the show to which they, surprisingly, answer in the negative. It then proceeds to follow a loose timeline of the series interjected with interviews and commentary from fans and cast/crew from the show. While the majority of the cast is involved, a few are noticeably missing (namely Michael Cera and Jessica Walter). The framework closes with those same people previously interviewed if they’d give the show a chance, in which they give resoundingly affirmative answers.

However, The Arrested Development Documentary Project doesn’t really bring any new information for any die-hard Arrested Development fans. Anybody who’s thrown marathon screenings and know their difference between Iraq and balls won’t be blown away by this documentary. Like I mentioned earlier, this doc is mostly to bring awareness to those who aren’t familiar with the series. Unfortunately, the majority of the people who would hear about the doc are the groups of people who have digested everything Arrested Development.

Still, the independent project illustrates just how invested and proud the cast and crew are of the show, illustrated not only in their interviews, but just their willingness to be a part of the project at all. The Arrested Development Documentary Project is definitely filled with passion, but doesn’t share much new information for those just as equally passionate and invested into the series.

If you’re a fan of Arrested Development, The Arrested Development Documentary Project is a good refresher on the series and helps illustrate what we all love about the series. However, if you’re green on everything Bluth, the doc is made exactly for people like you. It’ll blue you away… Maeby.