Tag Archives: comedy

Adventureland Review (spoiler-free)

Adventureland is not what I expected. Granted, my expectations were set solely by the movie poster. From that I gathered:

  • It takes place in the ’80s at an amusement park.
  • The stars are unknown (to me), but supporting cast includes Bill Hader, Kristin Wiig, and Ryan Reynolds.
  • It’s from the director of Superbad

You’re thinking ’80s movie parody, right? Maybe Wet Hot American Summer? Or perhaps an Apatow-ian version of One Crazy Summer, The Great Outdoors, or Meatballs.

It’s actually much, much smarter than that. It’s not so much a comedy as a coming of age story. There are laughs, for sure. Some big ones, even, but most of it is from subtle character commentary and reactions.

It utilizes a quintessential ’80s movie theme, however: a smart, young everyman who’s not confident with girls meets a cute, experienced, down to earth girl with problems at home. It’s more complicated than that, of course, and more realized than any comedy would portray.

However, the biggest differentiator from teen comedies is that these aren’t teens. We’re used to characters who have just graduated high school or are finishing senior year. But Adventureland‘s main character has just graduated college, and all the other characters are clearly over 21. Like in real life, this significantly changes the dynamics. It’s a refreshing change that makes it very easy for me to recommend this movie to adults. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Priceless Review

In Priceless, Audrey Tautou says that charm is better than looks. “Looks can be resisted, charm cannot.” Priceless has charm in spades.

I’m not one of those guys who throws around terms like “delightful comedy” (unless I’m being ironic). But that just about sums up this film.

In Amelie, Audrey Tautou showed us she can be uniquely cute better than just about anyone. Here, she shows us sexy. She is practically naked the entire film, by way of dresses with sheer and/or very little fabric, and her glorious refusal to wear a bra. Also, she is sometimes just naked. Bravo!

Also, she can act. Not too far into the film I’m thinking, “I really don’t like her character.” I was concerned for the film, because how am I supposed get into a romantic comedy when I don’t know why the guy is pursuing this girl? But it’s not long before she, too, shows us what charm is. Yes, the screenwriters get credit for this, too, but it still requires the right actress to make us change our minds.

Gad Elmaleh is great as Jean, a bartender who falls for Tautou, a girl way above his pay grade. His father was a mime, and you can see him channeling Chaplin in this film. After watching him in this, I’ve moved The Valet to the top of my Netflix queue.

Now, some caveats. This is a French film. I don’t just mean the dialogue is in French1, I mean the comedy, tone, setting, etc. I’m a big fan of foreign films, especially French; you may not be. At the same time, if you’re expecting Amelie, which is off-the-charts charming and quirky, you’ll be disappointed. But it is quirky, and fun, and… You know. Delightful.

Gad Elmaleh and Audrey Tautou in Priceless

  1. Except for “pick-me-up” and “sunny-side up”, which have apparently been assimilated into the French language. []

New Comedy Central Shows

Comedy Central is getting some new shows that might be good:

Andy Richter is getting a sketch comedy show. If it’s anywhere near as good as Andy Richter Controls the Universe – one of the top 10 American sitcoms – I’ll be very happy. The sadly short lived Andy Barker, P.I. was also great.

Snoop Dogg is getting an animated show based on his teenage years in Long Beach. I live about 20 minutes from Long Beach, but I’m guessing it’s not set in any of the parts I’ve been to, except, perhaps, by accident.

Nick Swardson, best known as Terry from Reno: 911, will be voicing the lead character in a new animated show called Gay Robot. No further commentary necessary.

Movie Car Collection: Better Off Dead: 1967 Camaro

Continuing the Movie Car Collection series with another great American muscle car:

Better Off Dead: 1967 Camaro
Price range: $20,000-45,000
1967 Camaro

Better Off Dead is my favorite 80’s teen comedy. Considering the number of 80’s teen comedies, that’s pretty high praise. This car brings Lane together with cute French chick Monique (I bet he put his testicles all over her). More importantly, it flattens a Ford Falcon driven by the Asian Cosell brothers. On second thought, that’s not more important. I’d much rather have a hot French foreign exchange student than beat a Ford in a street race – I can do that with my WRX already.

Turns out, I am not the only one in love with this car, not by a long shot. There is a terrific story at betteroffdeadcamaro.com about how the owner of that site tracked down the original car (wasn’t easy!) and fully restored it to it’s former glory. Just like the movie. Wow, man.

Since the original isn’t for sale, you can settle for a diecast 1/18th scale replica. Yes, of course, it’s black.