Throwing The Chair

This will be an intermittent mid-week feature follow-up to the previous blog post addressing issues that compel the chair to be thrown – both figuratively and literally.

I give up

“Hangover II,” “Bridesmaids” and “Horrible Bosses.”  Talk about taste free.  Does it matter which ones you liked and which ones you hated?

The movie industry is b

ecoming as lazy as the people put in charge of changing things in Washington.  Unless this IS the change we

’ve waited for.  God, I hope not.  They say people get the governments they deserve, does it also mean we get the entertainment we deserve?

The entertainment business these days is really about glory and not story.  Glory meaning the ultimate goal is attention, results and bottom line at pretty much any cost except a personal one.  How else to explain A list actors Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell (okay, A – list) willingness to grab onto the R-rated gravy train with the quite taste free “Horrible Bosses.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in for a good raunchy romp fest where I can sit back and enjoy and not think too much.  But not thinking too much is not the same as not thinking at all.  Raunchy romping is not the same as witless characters doing stuff  impossible to believe even in the most stoned out story meeting.  But if the latter were possible in the year 2011 (because one wishes some of the ideas posited in these meetings actually came from people who were stoned, that would at least be an excuse) it’d have to be a little bit better than this.

I kind of liked “Bridesmaids” and parts made me laugh.  “Hangover II” was a thin retread of the first with only a few decent laughs.  “Horrible Bosses” lived up to half its title.  This is, of course, a

matter of opinion and perhaps you disagree.  But even those who enjoy the film (how could you????) admit it doesn’t make much sense.  Even in movie reality.  Here’s the obligation of the writer – create a dramatic/comedic situation and world grounded in certain rules and once that’s established go crazy within that world.  (That’s how the “South Park” guys do it). But don’t get lazy and just say, “well, it’s a comedy, we can do anything.” That shortchanges the filmmakers and the audience.  In this case, it must have been all those impromptu yuks on the set combined with numerous studio notes mixed in with various director and test marketing cuts that winnowed this film into incredulity.  Doesn’t matter it made $23,000,000 this weekend.  Or that it has 74% on Rotten Tomatoes.  It’s not something we should aspire to.  And we all can do better.

If you’re in the mood for great comedy watch:  “Tootsie,” “Monty Python’s Holy Grail,” “Some Like It Hot,” “His Girl Friday,” “Sullivan’s Travels,” “Forty Year Old Virgin,” “Duck Soup,” “Young Frankenstein” “What’s Up Doc?” “The Producers,” Philadelphia Story” “Groundhog’s Day,” or “This Is Spinal Tap.”  Or you have my blessing to rent or download or pay per view ANY film on AFI’s top 100 comedy list.

Or (better yet) – spend the time writing, directing , acting in or creating a new one on your own.  Anything but proclaiming to people how cool and funny “Horrible Bosses” is to your friends.  You, and we, and all of us (including the people who made it) can do better.  But only if we aspire to it.

5 thoughts on “Throwing The Chair

  1. Saying I enjoyed “Horrible Bosses” isn’t the same as giving the writers or director my stamp of approval, or saying that it had a top notch story. It was the strength of the leads that had me laughing throughout. And comparatively speaking to other R-rated comedies, I thought “Bosses” was relatively tame in terms of “raunchy” content — most of it was spoken, and mostly from Aniston.

    I agree, the plot hangs on a very loose thread that unravels given the slightest tug. I guess it was my love of the characters that got me through — except Farrell’s, who’s funniest bit was merely a piece of art design (taping his name over his father’s).

    I guess my point is, what is it about “Bosses” that makes it tasteless, and why is it exhibit A on how we can do better, when I can think of plenty other comedies that would be a waste of my $11.75 (I’m guessing because it’s a turd that people are trying to pass off as gold)? At least with “Bosses,” I hadn’t seen it before… I’m looking at you “Hangover Part II.”

    • It’s only Exhibit A at the moment because it just came out and I thought it was lazy and disappointing. That’s one of the benefits of being “the chair.” However, there are easily more than a group of others that are equally if not more guilty, led by “Hangover II.” 🙂
      My main point is – it’s possible to do an outrageous comedy that tells a coherent, even engaging story, AND like the characters. AND the writing can even be clever, AND (yes I know it’s hard to believe) — original!!!
      I’m looking at you “Horrible Bosses”/”Swimming with Sharks”/”Nine to Five” (the latter two being far superior to the first).

      • I’ll concede that “Swimming with Sharks” is a much better crafted film than “Horrible Bosses” (it annoys me when reviews of “Bosses” say that Kevin Spacey is playing “against type” — are they serious??). But I will bashfully admit I laughed much more often and louder at “Bosses.” Just give up on our generation, Steve. Our funny bones are brittle and react with even the slightest bit of pressure — or perhaps they’re just not as refined as our predecessors’. 😛

  2. I’ll never give up on you guys!

  3. Horrible Bosses was intermittently funny until Charlie Day drops the coke in Farrell’s apartment. Then I was laughing pretty hard for about 30 minutes. Then it got really tame again.
    In a way, movies like these are the worst for me because I can’t judge them on what they are. They’re not bad enough for me to distance myself from them, but they’re not good enough to keep me from thinking, “Well here’s what I would’ve done and it would’ve been way better.” So the whole time I wanted it to grow some balls and be darker, riskier, less broad and almost boringly general in its comedy.

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