Thursday, May 01, 2008

Harold and Kumar & the Baby Mama

I never went into detail about "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" other than I liked it, but I don't really have much more to say than that. It's exactly what you expect, a bit slow in some parts, but really funny in most. It made me laugh out loud, which I never do, even to the point of tears.

"Baby Mama" was also pretty much what you'd expect if you've seen a trailer (and if you haven't, kudos for you for finding that blissfully silent rock to live under) or have a basic idea of the movie's central premise and the structure of a mainstream comedy. I admit, the beginning was somewhat agonizing, with way too many minutes of Tina Fey's character mooning over baby after baby just after she learns that her ability to get pregnant on her own is 1 in 1 million. (Of course as a 40-something woman with no children and even weaker odds, I could be accused of taking it too personally rather than simply growing bored with the piled up sappiness - although I don't think it was just my armor of cynicism that made me roll my eyes repeatedly.)

Once the film kicks into gear, though, which pretty much means when Amy Poehler appears, it finally starts to be funny. There are some brilliantly funny moments, although not even a week later I am struggling to remember one to try to describe. (And I can still laugh to myself remembering Paul Rudd's surfing lesson in "Sarah Marshall." "No, do less!") But Poehler and Fey have great chemistry, and I'd love to see them start cranking out buddy comedies where they can have fun with different roles and situations. (Of course Fey will be the Martin and Poehler the Lewis.)

And then we have Harold and Kumar, not that anyone is probably giving them the Martin Lewis mantle. "Escape from Guantanamo Bay" is probably not much more of a silly goof-out implausible gross-out comedy than its predecessor, but it felt much more tedious to sit through. (It didn't help that I went at an off time and was the only one in the theater. No, I mean the only, single, individual person. I have been one of a handful, but never completely alone. I felt very self-conscious, especially as the 40-something white woman sitting in the audience for a film directed at 20-something male stoners.) Yet when I tried to figure out why the first movie was funnier, and started recalling specific scenes in the first, they're really not much different. Harold and Kumar escape Guantanamo with relative ease? Yup, as implausible as Kumar performing surgery on the fly. Backwoods hunter invites the duo to smoke pot with his incredibly hot wife in his bizarrely upscale home? Yup, as silly as the insanely ugly mechanic who invited them to have sex with his incredibly hot wife in the first film.

But I still didn't laugh, not once. Maybe I need a crowd to laugh with me, around me. Or maybe this time it just went too far, without being fresh enough.


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