Is The Spoof Dead?

Posted: October 22, 2008 by jerkmag in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

This was an actual movie...

Over the summer a friend of mine posted on her blog, “There was a time in my life when I would be excited to see movies like You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and The Love Guru (although I never really liked Mike Meyers). As happy as I am that my taste has evolved, I really miss enjoying movies so easily.”

I read this through a couple of times and realized it was a spot on observation. Not just about her own personal tastes but maybe, the movie going crowd in general. I know the feeling exactly. While these movies were probably funny I too feel like my tastes have shifted. Honestly, I didn’t have the desire to go see either of these. Nor do I know anyone that did. Five years ago this would have been a different story.

Unfortunately, the issue is larger than just me and my friends growing up. The critics seem to agree. Zohan received mediocre reviews, and Guru will go down as one of the worst films of the year (possibly the decade?). Mike Meyers failed miserably, grossing only $39 million worldwide on a film that cost $62 million to make. Compare that to the last Austin Powers movie (2002) which grossed over $200 million on roughly the same budget.

Say it ain't so Mike...

Say it ain't so Mike...

Mike Meyers and Adam Sandler have done some great character pieces in the past. We can look fondly on Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Waynes World, and Austin Powers.  They’re truly hilarious movies but it seems as of late the comedies that are scoring big belong to Judd Apatow and crew. The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express. Different from the character spoofs these comedies feature real(ish) people, in exaggerated comedic circumstances. They’re heartfelt and relatable. On the other hand, we’ve got Epic Movie, Scary Movie 18, Date Movie, Disaster Movie, Superhero Movie. Did you see these? Were any of them good? Not a single one can touch the success of Judd Apatow, and never will they be as funny as the great parodies of the past, such as Spaceballs or The Naked Gun

Even Will Ferrel has fallen prey to the changing times. He’s been playing the same obnoxious sports goofball over and over again. Step Brothers was a step in the right direction, but might not be enough.

I’d love to generalize and say that, “the broad, over the top, spoof comedy is dead,” but I can’t. Tropic Thunder certainly falls into this comedy genre and that film was incredibly funny, well received, and profitable. It can’t be denied though, that the form is on life support. It’s going to take more than just one Ben Stiller flick to turn everything around. Then again, Beverly Hills Chihuahua just spent two weeks at number one, so who knows what the future of popular comedy will be.

~Alex Rabinowitz

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