Catching Up at the Video Store: Comical Imbalance
Article first published as Comical Imbalance on Blogcritics.
The concept of the antihero is nothing new in the vast universe of the moving pictures, especially within the realms of the comedy genre. We’ve all seen those teen flicks, wherein cowardly dweebs in high school — upset by their inability to understand the rules of whichever game Fate has enrolled them in — somehow manage to get the upper hand of the prevailing jocks in an attempt to win over the heart of the drop dead gorgeous prom queen, only to discover that true love was there all along in the guise of one of their own friends. And then there are those unheroic central characters who don’t play by any rules whatsoever; cheating, bucking, and — in some cases — killing to get what they want out of life.
Here, I present you with six comedy titles that, in all probability, posses what you might call a “Comical Imbalance.”
The Short Version: Only in New York, eh?
The Slightly-Elongated Version: From Roy Frumkes and Rocco Simonelli, the minds that brought us movies like Street Trash and The Substitute series, comes a romantic comedy for those of you who generally tend to experience an overwhelming sense of nausea when it comes to romantic comedies. Frankenhooker star James Lorinz plays a hapless lad whose brother (Robert Mobley) always manages to get the babes. That all changes when the boys meet an arm-wrastlin’ bartender (Barbara Sicuranza) and her sexy biker roomie (Joan Jett — yes, the Joan Jett), the former of whom manages to put the ol’ sense of “competition” back in sibling rivalry.
The Short Version: The show that single-handedly supported duct tape manufacturers for 15 years.
The Slightly-Elongated Version: It’s time for another trip to the Possum Lodge with Red Green (Steve Smith) in this collection of 54 episodes from the long-running Canadian television hit that comprised of the show’s tenth, eleventh and twelfth seasons. As in all the other chapters in this spoof of rednecks from the Great White North, there are plenty of things haphazardly fixed with duct tape and corny jokes for all seasons. But the real highpoint of this set is the return of former Red Green regular Patrick McKenna as Red’s nephew, Harold, who came back to the show a couple of times following his departure from the series.
The Short Version: Diary of a Lovesick Ginger.
The Slightly-Elongated Version: Relationships are never easy for a 13-year-old, especially for those crazy redheads. Case in point: Alaskan grade schooler Vanessa Lemor (Savanah Wiltfong) has once again been dumped by her boyfriend, Philip (Shayne Topp), to wit she enrolls into his school in the hopes they can (once again) reconnect. Her change in educational venues, however, results in a downshift in her social status — and Vanessa is soon viewed as another nerd. Beth Grant co-stars as the school principal in this award-winning family-friendly comedy that gives us the rather uncommon female take of the “revenge of the nerd” film category.
The Short Version: And you thought your mayor didn’t have a clue.
The Slightly-Elongated Version: Just imagine, for a moment, what might happen were someone who outright admitted they didn’t know what they were doing was sworn into office. This lighthearted indie comedy starring two ‘80s icons, Lea Thompson and Judd Nelson, brings us the tale of a simple housewife/baker/mother-of-three (Thompson) who becomes the next mayor of Bridgestone when one of her daughters secretly nominates her mum in an election. Judd Nelson dons a pornstache as Lea’s police officer hubby, and two of their girls are Lea’s own real life children (Zoey Deutch and Madelyn Deutch). Frankie Faison, Dorian Harewood also star, and Gavin DeGraw and Greta Van Susteren appear as themselves.
The Short Version: Some guys have all the luck.
The Slightly-Elongated Version: There’s a general consensus around the US that most people who win the lottery don’t actually deserve to. Ben Keller (Colin Hanks) has just won the lottery, and, as it turns out, he’s an aspiring serial killer (Keller, killer; how cute). He’s also very much enamored by with a receptionist (Ari Graynor) at the office where he works, who suddenly decides she likes him once he wins big — but will the whole “murderer” thing distract her plans to embezzle his newly-acquired funds? Ann-Margret and Mimi Rogers lend their charms to this odd little attempt at black comedy, and Arrested Development’s Jeffrey Tambor plays a detective here. Also available on Blu-ray.
The Short Version: “Not Another Napoleon Dynamite-equse Movie!”
The Slightly-Elongated Version: Indie filmmaker Ari Gold brings us his first feature film wherein he writes, directs and stars as a feller named Power (does he have a Tower of Power?), who works in a mine and dreams of being the most celebrated air-drummer in all of the world (and, sadly, there are people like that out there). His lack of any “actual” real drum-playing experience might interfere, but, as anyone who has ever seen Napoleon Dynamite knows, you can’t discourage the spirit of special people like Power. Michael McKean, Jane Lynch, Adrian Grenier, and Shoshannah Stern lend their talents to this offbeat tale.
Happy viewing, kids.