Keep some salt handy while watching "Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon." A few grains will make Mike Myers' documentary about a wealthy, generous, big-hearted and apparently universally beloved figure in the entertainment industry just a little easier to swallow.
First off, yes, that's Myers, of "Wayne's World" fame, making his directorial debut with "Supermensch." The comedian is one of many celebrities -- including Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Sammy Hagar and Mick Fleetwood, to name a random few -- who sit down and offer glowing tributes to the multifaceted Gordon. Sharon Stone isn't in the film, but that's understandable -- she's an ex.
Who is this guy? In Gordon's telling, he's just a kid from Oceanside who happened to share his pot stash with Jimi Hendrix and then, on the guitarist's suggestion, wound up managing Alice Cooper for more than 40 years. Along the way, he also managed Luther Vandross, Blondie, Raquel Welch and Groucho Marx. He co-produced several movies you've probably seen, including "Kiss of the Spider Woman" (1985). When Emeril Lagasse credits Gordon with single-handedly inventing the celebrity chef, you're inclined to believe it.
"Supermensch" aims to do for Gordon what other documentaries have done for Brian Wilson and film producer Robert Evans: raise the public's awareness of an influential but overlooked figure. To that end, it succeeds. Though it's entirely scandal-free, it's filled with the kind of "who knew?" moments that pop-culture fans live for. Alice Cooper's bloody chicken, Teddy Pendergrass' women-only concerts and Anne Murray's unlikely cool-crowd appeal are all explained here.
Is it really possible that Gordon, a Jewish Buddhist who once cooked for the Dalai Lama, has spread nothing but good karma during a lifetime in the cutthroat entertainment industry? If so, his story is not just colorful but truly amazing.
PLOT A documentary about one of the most successful yet little-known figures in the entertainment world.
RATING R (language, some sexual references, nudity and drug use)
BOTTOM LINE Many "who knew?" moments to keep pop-culture fans fascinated.