I won’t be seeing Due Date. I’m sure there will be some laughs, but its time to take a stand. I am not down with this type of comedy. It’s easy, it’s lazy, and I won’t support it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still got a lot of love in my heart for Zach Galifianakis. I’ve got no problem with Robert Downey Jr., either (although I’m not celebrating him like some others). Due Date just crossed my field of vision at the wrong time. If it wasn’t directed by the same guy who did The Hangover I probably wouldn’t be writing this post.
I’ve noticed a disturbing shift in comedy in the last five years or so. Creative, intelligent, edgy work is ignored. What the people want is comedy about cool dudes getting drunk and getting laid. To me, that isn’t comedy. I don’t know what it is. Lame-ass fantasy projection?
Really its movie studios playing things as safe and profitable as possible. Alcohol and vaginas are about the only two topics that all idiots consider safe and cool. And since there are more idiots than smart guys, well, give the people what they want, right? And what they want are 90 minute episodes of Entourage and Two-and-a-Half Men.
When did this happen? I guess it probably happened slowly. Or maybe it was always this way and I was too young and naive to know it. But looking back, I actually think Old School was kind of a watershed moment for mainstream comedy. I love Old School. Don’t watch it often, but when I do I still laugh a lot. The thing is though, there are also aspects of the movie that have always rubbed me wrong. The really fat kid, Leah Remini, the over-quoted lines, Snoop Dawg’s entire party scene, some of the sweet college stuff. And it seems like that stuff is what really took hold. The subtlety and intelligence were pushed aside, and the cheapest laughs were embraced and replicated.
Maybe I’m just getting old and square. Or maybe MacGruber‘s failure has left me overly bitter. But I am frightened at what passes for funny these days. I’m even more frightened about where we’ll be in 10 years. Will “funny” just be a synonym for “awesome” by then? If the conversations I overhear on subways or in line for the bathroom at bars are any indicator, I’d say we’re definitely heading in that direction.
I spend most of every day either with dogs or alone. That’s the way I like it, for a variety of reasons I don’t want to talk about and you don’t want to hear about. My point is, given my comparative isolation from human society at large, I’m probably not the best person to cast judgement on what the masses like or dislike. Maybe I’m just a crazy old hermit ranting here. I’ve considered that possibility. But MacGruber and Bruno failed* and The Hangover succeeded. That is not delusion. That happened.
*I don’t have the box office numbers for Bruno handy, but I remember hearing that it did much worse than Borat. Which is a shame considering its much, much funnier. I’m sure all the gratuitous homosexuality turned people off. Pardon my french, but those people can suck my dick.
I want to be made to laugh in new and exciting ways. I want classic, hilarious characters. Granted, that is asking a lot. But we should ask a lot. If we settle for junk, junk we shall receive. I worry that soon, thats all we’ll receive. People like Will Forte and Michael Showalter have their spirits crushed and people like Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Piven soar to such great heights. These are the new faces of comedy. Guys who aren’t funny, have probably never been considered funny by their peers at any point in their lives. Meanwhile people who are funny are either ignored or branded as “stupid.” Howard Roark is rolling in his fictional grave.
I have both read and heard many people call MacGruber “stupid.” I hate the way that word is used. It essentially now means “something I don’t understand.” Fully developed characters are stupid. Actual stupid characters (i.e. Galifianakis and Ed Helms in The Hangover) are funny. I see how it is. This is just like when we started saying “bad” to mean “good”, right? This is all going to be over soon, right? RIGHT?!?
Pair awesome guys with dumb guys, add alcohol and hot chicks. Comedy recipe for the new millenium!