FTF Boo Rating
1 is good, 5 is bad.
The trailer for this film made it look like it was going to be really funny. I like Jack Black, I know I shouldn’t but I do, he’s like McDonalds or the music produced by Timberland, and despite all the rationale and logic I strive to apply which should lead me to disliking him, I don’t. I also like Michael Cera, which is obvious, because Michael Cera is great. Michael Cera was George Michael in Arrested Development, and I would kill anyone of my friends or family if it meant getting that show back on the air.
Year One also has a host of other actors who are very funny. There’s Paul Rudd, who I genuinely wish was my best friend and who I’m considering writing a letter to suggesting we meet up, possibly including a picture of me and a list of my 10 favourite things. And there’s David Cross, who was also in Arrested Development, paying the part of my favourite character Tobias. Not only that, he was the voice of the crane in Kung Fu Panda, which is the best film ever made, and I don’t care if it turns out David Cross killed Michael Jackson, I will still think he’s brilliant.
All in all, the trailer suggested this film would be great. So when I sat down in the cinema and told everyone it would be shit, this was greeted with surprise, surprise which on the surface is understandable. But if you dig a little deeper, it isn’t surprising at all. Allow me to expand.
Take a look at this list:
- Ghostbusters : The Video Game – 2009
- Extreme Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Invasion – 2004
- È già ieri – 2004
- Analyze That – 2002
- Extreme Ghostbusters: Code Ectp-1 – 2002
- Bedazzled – 2000
- Analyze This – 1999
- Extreme Ghostbusters (40 Episodes) – 1997
- Groundhog Day – 1993
- The Real Ghostbusters (140 Episodes) 1986 – 1991
- Rover Dangerfield – 1991
- Ghostbusters II – 1989
- The Real Ghostbusters – 1989
- The Best of SCTV – 1988
- Caddyshack II – 1988
- Armed and Dangerous – 1986
- Club Paradise – 1986
- Back to School – 1986
That is a list of the last 20 things Harold Ramis wrote. Now I’m not trying to slate him, I’ve always kind of liked him, he seems like a nice guy and I sort of wish he was my dad for some reason, but if you take Groundhog Day out of that list, what you’re left with is a landscape so bland it would make Nichole Kidman’s tits look interesting. Perhaps more damning is the fact that 3 of those 20 films are on my list of films to review for this site. In all it’s over 20 years of total and complete shit that by some insane twist of fortune included the moment of brilliance that was Groundhog Day. But to be honest Bill Murray owned that film, and Harold Ramis didn’t even want him for it, he wanted Tom Hanks. The dick.
So really it’s obvious why I said it was going to be shit. Harold Ramis writing and directing this film was basically a guarantee that it was going to be shit. The mistakes were there for all to see. The actors were completely wasted. Paul Rudd was given nothing, David Cross very little, and Michael Cera had nobody to bounce off. Jack Black was just Jack Black, but he didn’t seem to be getting guided at all, and I get the feeling you need to point him in the right direction or he’ll run off like a fucking Jack Russell Terrier and piss on a nearby car.
There seemed to be a real reliance on ad-libbing, like Ramis just thought “Hey, these guys are funny, I’ll just put them together and they’ll do some funny things”. It’s not a good way to work, it might work when you have Bill Murray, but much as I love the guys in this film, none of them is Bill Murray. Ad-libbing is brilliant when a funny person happens to think of something funny and puts it in. It works fantastically then because it’s natural and the chances are if they think it’s funny it will be. However, if the actor in question doesn’t have a script or a guideline and have just been told to come up with some funny stuff, invariably they feel pressured to come up with something and what you end up with is an embarrassing scene such as the one in this film where David Cross is rolling around on the floor with Paul Rudd trying to be funny and a cinema of people staring at the screen in total silence wishing they could punch the cunt who didn’t give them a script in the face.
There kind of was a story I think, but it was fairly superfluous, and seemed to have been achieved by cutting and pasting scenes together afterwards, rather than actually having a story in mind at the time. Each scene seemed to be a standalone sketch making fun of some religious subject or legend, and although there were quite a few genuinely funny moments, you didn’t really appreciate them due to how they were achieved. It was as if they’d thrown a thousand darts at a dartboard, the fact some of them hit the bulls eye wasn’t impressive in the slightest. They made so many jokes that some of them were bound to be funny, and the countless moments which were embarrassingly unfunny really tore you away from feeling attached to the film or the characters.
All of that said, Michael Cera nearly saved it. He was genuinely funny, did as much as he could do with what he had, and I still love him more than I should love another man without having to make drastic lifestyle and wardrobe changes.