How To Make A Comedy
Review By: Gringo

Okay, today's lesson is a crash course in how to be funny. And no, I am not going to be teaching. Despite my amazing wit and repartee, I will hand this over to some fantastic comedy movies. And then show you how not to make a comedy. First up, Some Like It Hot.

Quite simply superb. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon are forced to hide out in drag as part of an all-female band whilst on the run from 'da mob'. Thankfully, we're spared wacky farce in the place of well-written lines, great acting and an all-round very chucklesome movie. This movie comes from the days when funny lines could still be written about men wearing women's clothing.

The days before Ru Paul and all those other irksome twats.

The Producers is my favourite of Mel Brooks' movies (which have managed to get worse and worse as the years pass on). The story of a mild-mannered accountant (Gene Wilder) who goes along with Zero Mostel (if you just thought Who? go away. Now) on a plan to con many old ladies out of money. How? Get them to fund a sure-miss musical: 'Springtime For Hitler'.

No, I don't think it's lacking in taste. I think it's handled very well - imagine if John Landis had directed this: then people really would be offended. As it is, this movie is like a Snickers: laden with peanuts and...no, wait.

It's more like a gem: hard and... No. Whatever the correct metaphor, one thing that's true is this: The Producers is filled with plenty of memorable scenes, and a great line to use whilst fighting large friends. It fast became one of my favourite comedies. So there.

The last in this quick spurt of good comedy movies is by usually-funny director/writer John Hughes. Planes, Trains & Automobiles stars Steve Martin as an uptight marketing man on his way home for Thanksgiving. The stock-in-trade cliche ensues: due to a flight delay he is saddled with a loud, irritating unwanted travel companion (John Candy). Wacky mishapes ensue. Except that the wacky mishaps in this movie are funny. That's the important link between all these movies: they make me laugh. They all have scenes that can be labelled as sheer comedy, and in these Waterboy days that's a hard achievment.

One gripe I have (I have no grapes left. Tee hee) with this movie is the ocassional dipping of its toe into the dangerous world of comedy-drama. Halfway through the movie, we no longer care about Martin's family - we want to see how he gets on with Candy. The flashes to Martin's moon-faced spawn waiting for him to get home just become annoying. The worst thing is the way the ending tumbles and falls into the abyss of crapness. A movie that is almost completely funny tails off into Hollywood cheese land. And on that note, I bring you to today's D minus pupil...

Now this is how not to make a comedy. It is how to make me very annoyed. The entire cast seem to have a look of 'HELP ME' on their faces for the entire duration of this travesty. Richard Griffiths, who I consider to be a good character actor, looks permanently close to tears. And just look at what this movie did for the cast's lives: Patsy Kensit went and married Liam Gallagher, Dudley Moore went simple and Bryan Brown went nowhere fast. To put it as eloquently as possible, Blame It On The Bellboy sucks.

The plot involves the mix-up of three surnames (Horton, Orton and Lawton) by a dim-witted bellboy. Comedy is meant to occur when Horton get's Orton's hitman job, Orton gets Lawton's property deal job, and all other plot strands that are woeful and unfunny in the extreme take place. Bad punchlines are thrown around like nobody's business, and the comedy is offset by scenes of unpleasant violence (someone get his balls electroctued. Fun) that just don't work. Just another reminder that certain people should never be trusted with either a script, a camera or the job of casting. And if they do get to any of these devices, can someone please send timing, wit and quality their way?


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