Sunday, October 4, 2009

"You save my life, I'll save your life."


I went to see The Hangover with Jessie at the Laurelhurst tonight. If nothing else, the experience reminded me why I try to avoid the Laurelhurst on Saturday nights, and why I tend to avoid jam-packed movie theaters in general.

For the record, The Hangover is actually pretty funny. It won't change your life, but it will make you laugh, and it wasn't nearly as raunchy or as grossout-focused as I thought it would be. That being said, people of the Laurelhurst 9:35 show: It's not that funny. Seriously.

This audience, which was packed, laughed at every single thing. Every. Single. Thing. And here's the problem with laughing at every single thing: it's not how comedy works. Comedy is usually a string of funny things (often called "words" or "gestures") that together work up to something called a punch line. The string of funny things is, in fact, intended to prepare you for the punch line. By that token then, if you laugh uproariously when, say, someone waves their hand or says "Let's go", and then laugh again, equally uproariously when this person's friend waves back or says, "I agree", then you often actually end up missing the far funnier thing that person three has to say or do (Particularly in movies like The Hangover, where there are three principal characters, this is how the scenes are meant to play out. Person A is funny, Person B is normal, and Person C is hilarious, but you miss that because you're still laughing about A and B, who weren't funny, really, to begin with.).

And so, attendee at the 9:35 showing at the Laurelhurst, when you and 200+ of your loudest, drunkest, most every-single-frame-of-this-movie-is-pure-comedy-gold friends chortle and guffaw through two hours of mayhem, I get a bit annoyed, because I can't hear half the movie. Maybe I'm just old.

But like I said, the movie is funny, for the most part, it's not a complete creepfest like Wedding Crashers or a completely body-fluids-obsessed farce like every other hit comedy in recent memory. And Bradley Cooper's extremely cute, and the other two guys are plenty funny, but hopefully it won't shock anyone to learn that the movie is just a rehashing of funny scenes from other movies.

Case in point 1: "Oh no! There's a tiger in the beloved car and he's going to rip it to shreds! This is nothing like the scene in Tommy Boy where there was a deer in the beloved car and he ripped it to shreds!"

Case in point 2: "Oh, my, that wedding singer is creepy and innappropriate, and will not be seen again. But he's also nothing like the creepy and inappropriate rival wedding singer (in The Wedding Singer, in case you're lost) who pops up once and will not be seen again."

It's pretty sad, too, when something gets introduced and you know exactly how the next ten seconds will play out, ie; character in the backseat finds a used condom, tries to toss it away, inadvertently sticking it to the passenger's cheek. Passenger claws desperately to remove the condom, in turn inadvertently attaching it to the driver's neck, causing the driver to operate the car erratically, etc., ad nauseam.

Also, and after this I promise to be done, someone needs to stop putting Ken Jeong in movies. The man is not funny. He's over the top and ridiculous, which for sure has its place, but I'm tired of him already, and nobody knew he existed a year ago. And in The Hangover, it's almost like we're supposed to give this collective sigh of relief like, "Hooray, we can all be racist and laugh at the Overstated Asian Accent of Dubious Origin because he's Asian and he's the one doing it, see? It's hilarious.

Well, I disagree. In HeatherLand, Ken Jeong is fired for the next 18 months, and no theater is allowed to be more than half-full. Also, the popcorn and drinks are free, and if you like characters in a movie, you get to take them home and make them part of your celebrity family. HeatherLand is a lovely place, believe me. And you have to, because in HeatherLand, I'm always right.

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