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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When Did Comedies Become So... Mean?

After I saw Step Brothers, there was one thing that was really bothering me. I didn't like the film at all, but I didn't really understand why. For some reason it did not have the type of humor that the two Adam McKay films had. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby were both very enjoyable and very, very funny.

Then, after some serious thought, I finally understood what I didn't like about his newest film.

It was just too mean.

Since when are comedies so mean? Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are just so mean to each other, and everyone around them. It makes them characters no one can identify with, or even want to identify with. While Ron Burgandy and Ricky Bobby are not the most relatable characters, at least they are likable, and you may want to relate to them. But in Step Brothers, they're just so damn mean it's hard to care about them, or the movie in general.

What happened to comedies like Mel Brooks used to make? Those were silly, slapstick fun. They weren't mean. Even Knocked Up and Superbad, while very crude, had characters you could still fall in love with, and root for. This wasn't the case in Step Brothers. What's worse, The Foot Fist Way, and Jody Hill's new film, Observe & Report seem to have the same problem. Though I was once a die-hard fan of Rogen's I can tell you I won't be going to see Observe & Report. It just looks too mean.

And even worse still, it seems like America wants these movies to be mean. It seems to a be an advertising point. For example, take a look at the DVD box for the upcoming release of Sex Drive.

Why is it being advertised like this? If you recall, I raved about this film. The reason I loved it so much was because it found that heart, the element that seems to be ever so elusive in these mean comedies today. Sex Drive is not the 'crudest, rudest' thing around, so why advertise it like that?

Because that's what people want.

And in the words of Seth Rogen in Knocked Up, it makes me sad all day.


Chris Cookson said...

if your going to have a character on screen for a long period of time you really have to ask yourself "would I ever want to sit in a room with this person for an hour and a half". I felt the original Shrek movie did a good job making Donkey annoying, but never too annoying and keeping Shrek from coming off as a total asshole to Donkey.

Ezra Edmond said...

Yeah I certainly agree. You can't love the foot fist way or stepbrothers. I hope the rest of the upcoming comedies don't come around like that, because it's just.... unlikeable.

Films like Role Models are great because you can love every character. Even Wheeler and Ronnie who are unlikeable, have their lovable soft-spots you can identify with.

This is why I love 80's comedies, they were about characters being funny and lovable - not hurting each other to no end.

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