Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hope for the Screwball Comedy?

Among my all-time favorite movies are some pretty silly comedies like Blazing Saddles, The Naked Gun, and Airplane. Those movies are great, and I love how they pretty much throw a gag at you every few seconds, and if the first one doesn't make you laugh, there's one that'll get to you that's just around the corner.

What's even better is how you'll have people giving deadpan deliveries to completely ridiculous lines. My favorite is a bit from The Naked Gun where Lt. Frank Drebin is warned to not cause any trouble. His response is, "Well, when I see five weirdos dressed in togas, stabbing a man in the middle of the park in front of a full view of 100 people, I shoot the bastards, that's my policy." His superior then informs him that it was a Shakespeare in the park production of Julius Caesar, and that he shot actors. That's funny enough on its own, but what really caps it is the look on his face. It's as though he just found that out for the first time. Priceless.

Alas though, that genre seems to be dead. I saw the first Scary Movie, and the only thing that made me laugh was "Principal Squigman." Everything else seemed labored and too obvious, with far too many reaction shots, which I don't understand the humor of at all. It's better when something funny happens and everybody just carries on like nothing happened.

Nowadays, it's Epic Movie or Meet the Spartans, and since absolutely nothing in the previews, which should be the best bits, makes me laugh, then it's safe to assume that nothing in the movies will make me laugh either.

There is a glimmer of hope. Perhaps it's because my standards have gotten so low. Perhaps it's because I so desperately want to laugh like I did the first time I saw The Naked Gun. I don't know, you tell me, but the trailer for Superhero Movie had me grinning a bit.

First of all, despite the name, it has no relation to the Epic Movie people. Secondly, unlike those, this one actually seems to be following some sort of a narrative, pretty much by following the storyline to the first Spider-Man movie, from what I can tell. Anyway, here it is, followed by what I thought was funny:

#1. The wedgie. Those are always amusing.

#2. The bus pratfalls. The first one was obvious. The second was amusing. By the third, it was comedy torture, which I happen to like.

#3. The nail gun bit. Okay, there's too much time devoted to the pain of the guy who got hit, but it was funny how nonchalantly his "Uncle Albert" tried it out.

#4. The wall crawling. The breakdancing was lame, but the cat running past made me laugh.

#5. The stabbing at Thanksgiving. It's funny how nobody else pays attention to how much pain he's in.

#6. The glove on the face. Really stupid, but it made me laugh.

#7. The death of the old lady. Too bad he reacts, but at least nobody else seems to notice.

Am I being stupidly optimistic here? Could this possibly be good? I'll wait for the reviews.

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