Commentary on Movies and TV by Brian Holcomb

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Audiences may not realize it, but they've been starved of actual comedy writing in their Hollywood entertainment. Besides Woody Allen, the Coen brothers and the occasionally effective work of the Judd Apatow mafia, comedy "writing" has been left to nothing more but the following: "INT. SUBURBAN HOUSE-DAY-Will Ferrell does something funny here involving a stapler, tightey whiteys, and a gerbil. What it will be; who can say?" That is, most contemporary comedies are just strings of improvised sketches driven by the star persona. Funny as they may be in fits and starts, they do not linger on in the memory because there is no controlling idea or intelligence pulling it all together. Certainly, they're not based on storytelling and feature nothing resembling human characters. Once upon a time, there were actual scripts written featuring well drawn characters which were designed to be funny on paper; scripts by people like Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond, Preston Sturges, Blake Edwards, Terry Southern, Paddy Chayefsky and John Hughes. Most of those guys are no longer with us, or no longer writing on a regular basis. This is why Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder is such a pleasurable surprise. With a cast featuring accomplished improvisers like Stiller, Black, and Downey, Jr. it's no surprise that there is a good deal of improvisation going on. What is surprising is how well drawn the characters are within the ad-libbing and how effectively told the story remains. The script by Stiller along with David Lynch regular Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen is not tossed out the window but embraced for its stinging satire of Hollywood and the Vietnam War genre it built. To read more of this review click HERE

1 comment:

download movies said...

Tropic thunder is a great comedy movie that is meant for entertainment. Its a highly recommended movie that most of us will enjoy watching it. Tom cruise scenes are hilarious though they were limited.