Opinion: Top 10 List – Comedies – Part 2

…Continued from Part 1

Films made this list not because they were the best all around, but because they brought something unique to the genre. (Comedy is a little subjective so, this might be more controversial than intended).

 

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo

What’s the Story?

A professional fish tank cleaner, Deuce (Schneider) finds himself in desperate need of cash to quickly repair the damage he’s done to a client’s luxurious Malibu apartment! Then the fun really takes off when Deuce decides the only way out of this jam is to switch to the world’s oldest profession — and offer his services to ladies everywhere as a lover for hire! A wild and raunchy comedy that always aims to please — you won’t be able to resist this sidesplitting laugh riot!

What’s So Special?

This was Schneider’s first in a series of films I’ll call the “everyones special” series.  His films were high concept hilarity, but they were ultimately a vehicle for casting actors who under normal Hollywood standards are ugly, or mediocre in some way — in the looks department.  Schneider himself not being your normal leading man pick proved that players of his ilk had just as much selling power as the usual pretty boy casting.

 

The Gods Must Be Crazy

What’s the Story?

For five thousand years, things have stayed pretty much the same for Xi and his fellow Bushmen. Then one day, an empty Coke bottle drops magically from the sky, and life goes topsy-turvy in the face of this generous “gift of the Gods.”

When Xi sets off to return the mystical present, he encounters a romantic microbiologist, a school teacher and a band of terrorists all enmeshed in a plot so insane, it could only happen in the “civilized” world.

What’s So Special?

Even today, the film industry in Africa has a long way to go in terms of quality of product.  South Africa on the other hand has always been ahead of the curve.  Mostly on the low budget end of things, but more recently some of their talent have broken out to the big time like actors Charlize Theron and Sharlto Copley, and directors like Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, Wolverine) and Neill Blomkamp (District 9).

Long before Hollywood noticed, however, there was the genius of Jamie Uys.  A mainstay in my childhood home in Zimbabwe.  Jamie Uys had single handedly made me an animal lover with his hilarious wildlife documentary series Animals are Beautiful People.  He’s most well known though for his other comedy series, The Gods Must Be Crazy. In it we follow a desert bushman as he determinedly journeys to return a shiny object back to the gods.  In typical 80s fashion, we get a quite zany and high concept plot who’s only goal is to bust your gut.  Having lived in the aforementioned Zimbabwe, I actually can relate to much of the archetypes on display and I can tell you, as exaggerated as it may be, Uys nailed it.

 

Borat

What’s the Story?

Sacha Baron Cohen, the star and creator of HBO’s wildly popular Da Ali G Show, brings his truly original Kazakh character Borat Sagdiyev to the big screen for the first time. With a camera crew in tow and armed with a jar of gypsy tears “for protection,” Kazakhstan’s fourth most famous celebrity travels to the US and A to make a documentary. As he zigzags across the country, loveable Borat meets real people in real situations – with hilarious consequences.

What’s So Special?

While not the first comedian to take his character creations into the real world, he’s certainly one of the more consistently identifiable.  So identifiable in fact that he really can’t do it anymore.  Just see the recent The Dictator for proof.

Sacha Cohen’s Borat character is probably the most successful implementation of this fake-meets-real brand of comedy.  There’s nothing funnier than genuine reactions from people like you or me who have no idea that Borat is a work of fiction.  If you’ve yet to catch any of Cohen’s work (Borat, Bruno, Ali G Show).  Make Borat your pick.

 

Napoleon Dynamite

What’s the Story?

Napoleon Dynamite is a new kind of hero, complete with a tight red ‘fro, sweet moon boots, and skills that can’t be topped. Napoleon spends his days drawing mythical beasts, duking it out with his brother, Kip, and avoiding his scheming Uncle Rico.

When two new friends enter Napoleon’s life — shy Deb and mustached Pedro — the trio launches a campaign to select Pedro for class president and make the student body’s wildest dreams come true.  But if Pedro is to beat stuck-up Summer, Napoleon will have to unleash his secret weapon…

What’s So Special?

The world was introduced to Jon Heder as the titular character of Napoleon, the singular most annoying and awkward, embarrassing figure you’ll ever have the chance to encounter.  Dynamite feels like a composite of several freaks we all knew in school or at work.  The sorts of people who are all at once strange enough to startle everyone they meet, but who somehow seem oblivious to their own strangeness.  On the contrary they may even see themselves as the superior beings.

At first glance, it seems as though there may be more than one similarity between this film and say Dumb and Dumber, but Napoleon is played absolutely straight.  More documentary style than slapstick, screwball comedy.  It’s somewhat like the difference between the UK and US, The Office.  One plays it real, the other is quite obviously just a shadow of reality.

Napoleon isn’t for everyone.  It takes some getting used to, especially if you have any sort of sensitivity towards the treatment of real-life outcasts, but I found the film to be more of a celebration of being different, and not really a film that makes fun of those who are.

 

So I Married an Axe Murderer

What’s the Story?

A San Francisco poet who fears commitment has a girlfriend who he suspects may not be who she appears.

What’s So Special?

This is another one of those storylines that could easily have been turned into something far different.  What if that significant other you finally decided to commit to was effectively a serial killer.  Ha ha ha. Hilarious, right?!  Apparently the answer is a resounding yes.

This film manages to take a presumably unnerving situation and turns it into an offbeat smile-fest.  It’s early Mike Myers at his most awkward-adorable.

 

Well, there you go, our list of must-see films. Wait where’s Chevy Chase?!

We know, we know.  We originally had Chevy on our list, along with Albert Brooks, John Candy, Bett Midler, Adam Sandler, and the list goes on.  They each dropped off the list somewhere along the way.

Even if you don’t agree with how high on the list each pick was, hopefully you’ll agree with most of the films as worthy of a recommendation.

Maurice
Original surviving founder of Fanboy Confidential, the podcast, and this supporting website. This is the fruit of his labor, created while on his off days from saving orphaned children from forest fires.

Only some of this is true.

Comments are closed.