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Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

Mouse Hunt

This physical comedy movie has some great stars in it, but that’s about the most positive thing I have to say.  The characters are two-dimensional and stereotypical, the plot is unoriginal, and the humor is bland.  It’s pretty good stuff if you’re very young and don’t have much experience in movie-watching.  But for those of us who’ve seen more than one slapstick comedy, we expect more.  Every joke in the film has been done before and better.  The highlight is Christopher Walken as a crazy pest control man, but even his scenes are slow.  The mouse itself is well-done and causes some humorous problems, but the focus is too much on the uninteresting human stars.  At least, the male characters are as maligned as the female ones for once, although one scene in particular had a woman simply allowing one of the male stars to jam his arm all the way down the front of her dress without knowing why, just sitting there as if she wanted it.  This made even less sense than the rest of the movie.  Which is really saying something, considering all the weak plot points and glaring plot holes.  It’s a pity because it felt like this one had some potential.  It doesn’t, however, live up to it.

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The movie is a different animal than the tv series.  It must be judged separately.  On that note, it’s almost a dark comedy about a slayer of vampires trying to deal with growing up and high school while learning about her destiny.  It’s fun and funny, and there are a lot of good and memorable moments.  Unfortunately, the acting doesn’t always measure up, and the rampant stereotypes get a little tiring after a while.  The whole thing has a very late ’80s, early ’90s feel to it, and that’s great if you’re feeling nostalgic.  It’s meant to make fun of a lot of things from that era, and it does, but it also falls short now and then, not really ever sure if it’s being serious or not.  If you can immerse yourself in the goofiness and humor, though, it’s delightful.

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This Disney classic is the humorous tale of a college coach who is haunted by the ghost of the pirate captain Blackbeard.  It’s a typical old Disney comedy, with plenty of goofiness and lightheartedness.  There are some super recognizable faces in the movie, and the acting is as good as you might expect.  The story is fun and silly and a good popcorn movie.  It’s a little old-fashioned, but there’s plenty of humor and mild action.  It’s all designed to be fun and funny, and it is definitely that.  There’s a lesson learned in the end about being helpful and kind and making the world a better place, despite one’s own failings.  But all of that is buried under the entertainment value.  And that’s just fine for a light, silly movie like this.

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Beetlejuice

This strange, mildly unsettling comedy is an acquired taste.  But if you love anything Tim Burton or anything darkly funny, it’s for you.  It’s gross and weird and has bizarre effects, but it’s all pretty entertaining.  The acting is excellent, the music is memorable, the story is original.  Michael Keaton is disturbing and funny as the titular ghost, and Winona Ryder is in top form as the character that most people think of when they see her name.  Everyone is excellent.  The plot has a few twists and a satisfying ending.  There isn’t much else to say.  If you like bizarre comedies and dark humor, this is a classic.

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Batman (1966-67)

The old Batman series with Adam West is well-known for its campy humor and action and absolutely ridiculous stories and characters. It’s just fun and entertaining in a mindless sort of way. The sets in the first couple of seasons are well-built, and the iconic characters of Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and some of the other regulars are familiar and charming. The acting isn’t bad, just cheesy. Some of the actors did such a good job with their crazy characters and jokes that they’re known most for their work on this show. It’s all kind of bad in a good way, the sort of thing you’d watch for a laugh with a bowl of popcorn in front of you. There are even subtler bits of humor that you might not catch if you’re not paying attention. The word “tongue-in-cheek” seems to have been made with this show in mind.  My main criticism is how poorly the female “characters” are treated.  Every woman is brainless and breathless, and every female villain is treated as if she’s been brainwashed and needs to be taken care of.  Catwoman comes closest to being a real person, and even she is powerless against her inexplicable love for Batman, making it her sole motivation most of the time.  The worst example comes in an episode when women are put in charge of the city, and they bungle it because they can’t stop putting on makeup and daydreaming.  The men may often be the butt of jokes, but at least most of them are portrayed as competent and intelligent.  In episodes where female characters are scarce, this is hardly noticeable, however, and the show is worth a look if you want a laugh or two.

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The first of these movies is cute and fun and has enough variety in plot points and characters to hold your interest if you start tiring of any single part of it. The main characters are sympathetic and well-acted, and you actually care about what happens to the kids, their guardian, and the lady stagecoach driver. The ending might be a bit sappy, but it’s an old Disney movie, so that’s to be expected. The humor is fairly mild but entertaining. All-in-all, it’s good. The problem with the second one is that it feels like an unnecessary fresh start. Most of the characters from the first one are gone, and the only connection we get is the two bumbling comic relief characters, played by Don Knotts and Tim Conway. Both are excellent comedians, but focusing an entire movie on them without any sort of straight-man character makes their slapstick style of humor rather tedious. They go through a series of increasingly bizarre accidents that eventually results in their involvement in some kind of plot. There are other characters who’re introduced in order to go through the more serious parts of the story, but we learn next to nothing about them, and they are both essentially cardboard cutouts of the people they’re supposed to be. This is particularly annoying when the woman is basically a walking stereotype, and the man doesn’t know how to either emote or interact with her. Our main characters are amusing, and it’s worth a watch if you want to know what happened to them after the first movie. Otherwise, skip it and pretend the story ended with the original.

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Groundhog Day

A Bill Murray classic, this one is chock full of humor. Murray is his typical self as a television reporter sent to cover a groundhog’s weather prediction. His sarcasm and sardonic jokes are in top form, and the eventual life lesson he learns is also typical Murray. This movie hits all the right notes and includes a number of recognizable costars from the world of comedy. If you’re not a fan of Murray, this won’t be the right movie for you, but if you are, it would be amazing if you hadn’t already seen it. The pace sags a little in the middle of the story, but that’s mostly caused by the necessary repetition that’s important to the plot. There’s little that’s wrong with this movie or its characters, outside of the typical mean-spiritedness and mild misogyny displayed by Murray’s character until he learns his necessary life lesson. If you actually haven’t seen this one and like Murray’s style of movie comedy, give it a try.

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