Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"Does Anybody Remember Laughter?"


The bar has been lowered. Not only for Hollywood and the moviegoing public, but the general creative direction of comedies. If you know what I speak of, you have no doubt seen the trailer for Epic Movie, which appears to take the obscenely unoriginal attempts at satire of the Scary Movie saga into unseen levels of unfunny.

What the HELL is this thing?

Before we get into the real horror of the matter, let's look at what it's following. I steered as far away from Scary Movie 4 after seeing its predecessor, which was the biggest bomb attempt at comedy I had seen since Saving Silverman. Not only did Scary Movie 3 look like a straight-to-Comedy Central production, it just wasn't funny. At all. The only mildly funny gag in the whole movie wasn't even an attempt at satire, it was the somewhat-clever 'rats vs. mice' bit. The only reason I gave '3' a try is that I actually liked the second one, which I felt was even superior to the original. The problem with '3' was that in the process of handing the directing reins from Keenan Ivory Wayans to David Zucker, the movies dropped their clever gags and writing and somehow discovered that it's funny simply to pop in references from recent movies and pop culture. The problem with this is that when seen even a year after its release (if not during its theatrical run), the movie feels achingly dated -- which makes the unfunny jokes even more painful.

So here we are at 'Epic Movie,' which drops the theme of skewering horror movies and goes after any recent blockbusters. Let's see, that will mean we'll get a homosexual Superman, an excuse for a bunch of drug jokes in Narnia, maybe some homosexual Pirates of the Caribbean and . . . some drug jokes from 'Willie Wonka'? Is that it? Oh wait, seems we also get some poignant skewering of 'Davinci Code' in the form of an albino character (albino humor!) and also some Mexican/homosexual humor care of Nacho Libre. Brilliant.

The sad thing is, this movie will make money (if you don't believe me, 'Night at the Museum' is already long past the $150 million mark) and this tragic trend of hit non-comedies will continue. If you really want to ruin your day, take a look at some of the comments on the movie's MySpace page, here's a few snippets of agony:

'yo, i can't w8 4 dis movie 2 com out, i'm gonna go c it on da day it does'

'cant wait to c this movie ... "omg a talking beaver*girl kicks beaver*" ... lol'

'this movie will trully kick ass'

'EPIC MOVIE OPENS IN 17 DAYS!!! This movie is going to kick serious *bleep*!!! Word to the CRAACKEN!!!'

It's just depressing that these kind of movies represent the state of satire filmmaking today. Zucker cut his teeth with some of the best of the genre in 'Airplane!' 'Top Secret!' and the like, but those movies were based around well-executed goofball comedy inside a shell of takeoffs on recent subjects (and even then, they were generalizations of genres, not the exact characters). If the misguided youth of today is this excited for 'Epic Movie,' will they ever know what it is like to laugh at something that is actually funny? If a girl kicking a beaver makes them laugh, what then when they see This is Spinal Tap or The Big Lebowski?

Most confusing is that a couple members of Christopher Guest's Comedy Troupe (Jennifer Coolidge, Fred Willard) -- talented actors who know what comedy should be -- are apparently willing to grit their teeth through a few days on set in exchange for another month at Atlantis.

I can't remember ever wanting a movie to fail as much as I do with 'Epic Movie.' It represents laziness and a collective disinterest in quality filmmaking.

Note: Extra large kudos to readers who know which 1970s concert movie this post's title is taken from.

3 comments:

Moviezzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Sheffler said...

Agreed. On all points.

Steve said...

There's one bright spot - it's gotta be better than the filmmakers' previous venture Date Movie. It simply HAS to be.