Perhaps it’s because I’m 32 and have fond memories of guys like Adam Sandler and Chris Farley in their heyday. Perhaps it’s because when I think of hilarious actors I refer to Jim Carrey back in his day or Will Ferrell in his prime. But for whatever reason I’m a little jaded by comedies today.
It’s not that good one’s don’t come out every once in a while, but I think in the last 5 or so years we’re in a bit of a lull and comedies don’t have much of an identity right now.
There are two arguments that I want to share to support these feelings. And here they go after the jump…..
The New Class of Comedic Actors isn’t hilarious
I feel like in every decade or era there’s a group of comedic actors that rise up to take over the spotlight for a few years. Right now, I’m just not seeing it. When you think about it, the funniest guys around are dudes like Zach Galifinakis or Jason Sudeikis. Is Bill Hader considered one of the best? Seriously, I can’t really think of who the front running funny guys are anymore. Jonah Hill? What’s the last funny thing he’s done since Get Him to the Greek? Superbad? Michael Cera? He’s OK I guess. It’s not that I don’t think these guys are funny, it’s just that they’re not hilarious.
You want hilarious? Think about guys like Adam Sandler and Chris Farley. Chris Rock was never great in movies but he definitely had the stage for a while. Jim Carrey? Are you kidding me how funny this guy was? Let’s even move back from these guys. How about Chevy Chase and Bill Murray? Hell even guys like Danny DeVito were great in my book. Dan Aykroyd? John Candy? The list can go on and on. My point is that through the 70s, 80s, 90s, and first half of this decade there were solid contenders and all were hilarious, not just subtly funny. How about Ben Stiller? Vince Vaughn? Will Ferrell? This new crop of guys? I just don’t think they match up. I mean when you compare Ed Helms to Adam Sander in his prime it’s almost laughable.
Granted this isn’t a knock on the new class. It’s just that I think the new class isn’t all that over the top hilarious. Now granted that might have to do with the screenplay and the directing. But I just don’t know. I mean you could look at a guy like Chris Farley and just laugh for no reason. All Will Ferrell had to do was yell and you’d laugh. Are guys really like that now? I just don’t think so.
For the record I’m not excluding women on purpose. I just don’t think Kristen Wiig or Maya Rudolph are remotely funny. And honestly I can’t think of that many funny women in past eras. Eh, I think Molly Shannon was pretty awesome, as was Ana Gasteyer.
Anyway, I hope you understand my point here. I just don’t feel there’s a clear cut group of funny men/women that you know you’re automatically going to be laughing at/with in a film these days.
Comedies are now movies that have funny stuff but aren’t necessarily comedies
Think about that statement for a minute and let it sink in. The funniest movies in recent memory according to America or rather popularity are Bridesmaids and Hangover II. I’ve been to both and I have to say that I think both were horrible. The best way to describe comedies today is that they’re more subtle and not necessarily as laugh out loud. They’re almost “smarter” and more boring. Not to mention many have dramatic tie ins intended to make the audience feel for characters and have “feel good” sappy moments. Personally I don’t need that. I just want to laugh.
Am I saying we need flat out stupid over the top stuff like Monty Python? No. But we sure as hell need another American Pie to come along and blow our socks off. A movie that just moment after moment makes you think “man I never saw that before.” Movies like Something About Mary or Dumb and Dumber that had you soiling yourself every five minutes. Movies where you knew the plot was dumb but didn’t care because the characters were so damned funny.
Think about movies like Old School or Wedding Crashers. I’ll even venture as far out as Superbad. Hell I loved Hot Rod because it was so dumb and yet it knew how dumb it was which is what made the movie great.
And unfortunately directors are also changing. Think about Apatow moving into more dramatics with Funny People. I mean I get it and all but come on buddy! Where’s the real funny stuff?
The only guys I know who stick to form are the Farrelly brothers. I thought Hall Pass was pretty funny. It at least had a few over the top “wow” moments that I’m referring to. The problem is with the consistency. The problem is that nowadays we see 1 or 2 movies a year that might make us laugh out loud enough to call a movie hilarious. It used to be more like 4-8 which is a big drop off in my opinion. Anyway, I think you guys get my point.
You guys may agree with this sentiment and you may not. But I had to get it off my chest. Opinions?