Monday, January 24, 2011

Recently Viewed - Comedy Quickies

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)**

A movie the entire family can watch together. In other words, it’s as bland as a 10 year old jar of pabulum. All about a young teen girl (Georgia Groome), her obese, emotionally disturbed cat named Angus, her intense dislike of thong underwear, and her efforts to kiss a cute boy. Nominally set in the UK, the story is so neat and tidy and familiar it could easily be Cincinnati. About halfway through, the dad is offered a job in New Zealand, and you wish the entire cast would go there and never be heard from again. Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is to cinema what fish sticks are to cuisine.

Patrik, Age 1.5 (2008)***

A perfectly harmless Swedish import about a gay couple (Gustav Skarsgaard, Torkel Peterrson) whose plan to adopt a baby is derailed by one of those ghastly typographical errors that profoundly change movie characters' lives. There’s nothing particularly new or interesting here, but the film’s shopworn, conventional ideas are executed to tear jerking perfection. This is essentially a Lifetime movie, clad in Swedish understatement. Although the film’s look and feel is at times frighteningly American. Recommended to those seeking warm giggles topped off by a good, therapeutic bawl.

The Groove Tube (1974) **

Those seeking a good rollick in 1970s nostalgia please be advised that this collection of irreverent skits is not nearly as funny today as one remembers from one's misspent youth. Horribly dated, and even a bit dull. That being said, Ken Shapiro's song and dance number through the streets of midtown Manhattan is still quite the hoot.

Waiting for Guffman (1996)****

Christopher Guest fans will know what to expect here…lots of belly laughs and spot-on parodies of familiar personality types. This mock-doc involves the staging of an amateur musical celebrating the sesquicentennial of a sleepy town in Missouri. And, like most small towns, the residents are exceptionally pleased with themselves.

Guest plays the town misfit who went to NYC in hopes of becoming a famous choreographer, but now finds himself back home, attempting to cobble together a show out of some very raw ingredients. Fred Williard is just plain hysterical as a stage-struck local business man and his duet with Catherine O’Hara delivers a tacky version of Midnight at the Oasis that you won’t soon forget.

The great Paul Dooley has a brief walk-on interview that will have you cackling with his brilliant comedic timing. And there’s the talented Guest as director Corky St. Clair, who may not have made it on Broadway, but certainly absorbed the attitudes and airs of that famous street. Funny, sharp, even a little sad on occasion, Waiting for Guffman is everything a comedic escape should be.