For two and half seconds, I considered starting this review off with the actual definition of comedy. Following that, I had two thoughts. One, this isn’t an essay for school. Two, how much of a geek would I be if I started off a movie review like that? It made me want to give myself a wedgie and steal my lunch money.
Instead of a definition of the word comedy, it’s easier to point you at either one of two movies, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Adventureland.” I think what is really bothering me is that both movies are classified as comedies when the exact opposite is true. I expected to be laughing at these movies, but the only response they evoked from me was a series of yawns and thoughts that it might really be possible to be bored to death.
One thing I’m sure of is that I’m not losing my sense of humor. There are several television shows that make me laugh; “The Big Bang Theory,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and “Tosh.0” to name a few. In fact, I could barely breathe when Daniel Tosh showed a clip of a green car bouncing on hydraulics and said “That transformer’s retarded.” If you are trying to picture that image, you’re probably laughing now too (I still am).
So why is it that nine out of ten movies billed as comedies these days have you wishing for tax audits or colonoscopies, just so you know you can still feel something? I think it’s due to the current crop of writers and actors who seem to be involved in every one of these films. You know who I’m talking about. Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader, and that fat, obnoxious, curly haired kid with really awkward lines and all of their buddies who continue to be supported by these morons. And what the hell has happened to you, Paul Rudd? Did you lose a bet or something? Are they blackmailing you with some incriminating photos? You used to have dignity.
One problem with these people is that they are confusing comedy with tragedy. I don’t mean tragedy like “Romeo and Juliet” either. I’m talking about simple tragedy, the big-screen chronicles of normal people who have shitty, boring lives and get dumped on by society. It’s not funny because it describes at least half of the people on Earth. These films are closer to documentaries than anything. In “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” the main character’s girlfriend dumps him for a musician when she becomes a big-shot actress. That’s hilarious?? And I’m sure that’s never happened in Hollywood. In “Adventureland,” the main character’s parents can’t afford to send him to Europe or Columbia grad school and he spends the summer working at a crappy amusement park to earn money. I can’t stop laughing?? I thought everyone had advanced degrees from Ivy League schools.
The other problem is that we are watching the same movie over and over and over. They all follow the generic story of guy meets girl, they fall for each other, misunderstanding, they separate, they get back together. I’m not saying this can’t be funny, since it’s the plot of every romantic comedy, but most of these recent movies take themselves too seriously. Plus, romantic comedies usually lose their sense of humor about halfway through, so this plot is almost destined to fail as a comedy regardless of the writing. That’s why the romance can’t be the main plot of a comedy and works better as a side story. Examples: “Office Space” and “Zombieland.” In those, the romance is used as motivation for some of the main character’s actions, increasing the comedy instead of sucking the life from it.
Worst of all, critics seem to love these films and continue to give them acclaim, calling them things like “hilarious” and “the funniest movie of the year.” I have to mention here that I enjoy Segel in the television show “How I Met Your Mother” – but in that show he’s part of an ensemble cast and isn’t writing his own lines. Until guys like Segel realize how boring their movies actually are, that comedies require jokes, Hollywood stops funding their crap, critics pull their heads out of their asses, and we stop paying to see them, we’re just going to get more of the same, dull, unfunny shit featuring the same set of dull, unfunny actors who believe that everything they produce is comedy gold. You know, like “Saturday Night Live.”
Rating: “Adventureland” is worth a dollar, while “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is worth nothing. Why? Segel stoops to showing us his dick multiple times, just for a cheap laugh. Go do a porno already. At least then there might be some unintentional comedy.