09 June 2009

"Did you see THAT?"

Lest someone should beat me to it---

On Friday night, Mikey J. encouraged me to see The Hangover with him. The motivation, for me, was not the film, which I was not AT ALL interested in. Rather, it was the opportunity of spending time with Mike, and the very real possibility that I could talk him into a drink or two after. My expectations actually sank when we got into the theatre, where we were surrounded by 110 guys in their 20s and 30s, all of whom clearly failed out of college because they were more committed to their frat houses than their relatively undemanding state school course schedules. But Mike said to stick it out. He said that this was JUST the audience we wanted to see this film with. He told me, with glee, that THIS was going to be a really funny movie.

Oh boy, was he right.

Now, before I talk about this movie, I want to make it clear that my conscience will not allow me to actually recommend this film to anyone. Instead, I can only tell you my experience of it. Make of this what you will:

I have only one other time ever had the feeling I had when I walked out of the theatre after this film. Remember Sin City? When I left that film, I felt shell shocked. I had been completely assaulted by violence. I couldn't tell you why that film seemed overwhelming violent to me (although I have a few ideas, which I would tell you over a beer, if you asked). But I remember feeling exhausted after it, and like I could NEVER see another film with any violence ever again.

I never could have thought that I could be equally assaulted by comedy. But I was. In this film.

There was a point in the film (and I won't tell you what that point was, so as to avoid any spoilers), when I started laughing uncontrollably and didn't stop until at least 5 minutes into the next scene. I thought I was going to be sick. It wasn't so much that the scene itself was so funny--it was more that so much horrible, horrible comedy had been heaped upon me up to that point that I lost it. And by "it" I mean both reason and control.

Don't get me wrong. I was completely offended. Particularly by one scene that actually involves a baby and physical humor. (You know, the lowest form of humor--Marx Bros humor. Where you watch someone get hurt and then laugh. But A BABY gets hurt. A BABY, people.) I did not laugh at his. I was shocked and amazed.

And yet.

I don't know.

It was still funny. Funnier than anything else I can remember. Funny, people.

To add insult to injury, this film actually has sort of a smart narrative structure, and a particularly pleasing gimmick ending--an ending, which, by the way, had me wondering what a film has to do these days to be given an X rating. Because, friends, this is not your parents' R-rated movie. (Thanks to you, Kevin Smith, for taking on the MPAA--twice--and helping to almost single-handedly assure that male full frontal will be de rigueur in dude comedies for the foreseeable future.)

I know that this is not a very detailed discussion, but I don't want to ruin the experience for anyone. Should anyone choose to see this film. Which I'm not recommending. But if you do, call me. We'll compare notes.


James said...

My dearest Kristin,

I object to you calling the Marx Brothers the lowest form of humor. In fact, I'm offended, and I never thought that you would offend me. But you did.

I know that the Marx Brothers employed slapstick humor, which usually I don't find very funny, but in the Marx Brothers, it's very funny. For one thing, the slapstick in the Marx Brothers usually isn't harmful. Sure, Harpo will kick somebody in the butt, but that's as violent as it gets. Their slapstick tends to be more concerned with confounding the victims, not causing physical pain.

Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZOlrZNIod0

You could argue that the Marx Brothers are dated, sure, but they certainly aren't the lowest form of comedy. Even Adorno had to give them credit.

Of course, I did laugh at the baby thing.

fsk said...

I have to agree. I think they're actually quite high-level, perhaps because they seem like any other slapstick but aren't. Actually I find much of the screwball comedies of that time really funny and smart. Maybe you meant the Three Stooges? I've never understood their appeal.
That being said, I totally believe you that The Hangover is funny.

Old Man Duggan said...

I've actually been meaning to do my write-up for a week now.

Agree on the Marx Brothers front.

Totally agree on how awesome this fucking movie was. Galifianakis was especially great.

Britt said...

The Hangover was the funniest movie I have ever seen! I am going to see it again... maybe tomorrow even! Right after Harry Potter... and Brad Cooper is hot!