Not a kid’s fantasy, like Peter Rabbit 2 or Cruel. Not a Covid era placeholder, like War with grandfather, or a streaming event, like Borat Post Moviefilm. But a rough, raucous, R-rated action comedy, kinda like Bad boys for life, which had three box office weekends in January last year before theaters closed and everyone stops counting.
Breathe. To laugh. It almost feels like summer.
Until August, at least a dozen adult comedies are slated for release in a revival that was initially dominated by horror and family fantasy. Perhaps it is too much to hope that two or three of them will give enough momentum to break through the cultural malaise that has plagued life for a few years now.
Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Total Over $ 5 Million, Pic Seeks Five-Day Debut
But you never know. A series of weekends starting on July 23 brings, in succession, The return path, Jungle cruise (which leans towards the family fantasy), The suicide squad and free guy, all with major stars. A few hits would mark a change of mood from A quiet place Part II and a debate on skin color on In the heights.
The change would be welcome.
Even before Covid, on-screen comedy struggled with competition from superheroes and what seemed like a decreasing tendency to laugh at anything that weren’t petty political memes on late-night TV or online. After hitting a low point in 2017, comedy, judging by the number of images slated for release, looked set to return in 2018. But a shameful controversy has taken hold. I feel pretty, and only Crazy Rich Asians, among adult comedies (setting aside family fantasy, such as Jumanji), went through the seriousness of a year dominated by Black Panther.
Instead of laughs, 2019 brought Joker. Most of 2020 has been an erasure.
So we moved away from a genre that provided some of our greatest hits, throughout the Hangover series (and, of course, the somewhat atavistic Bad Boys).
It sounds odd, given a deep-rooted human tendency to find humor in the most difficult situations. In the 60s and 70s, which had their dark moments, the films certainly did not stop laughing. Motion picture comedies, some of which have been successful, have embarked on nuclear war (Dr Strangelove), racism (Watermelon man), presidential incompetence (Be there), left revolution (Bananas), corporate hypocrisy (Putney Swope), assassination (Sleeper), the counter-culture (The party), and even the Vietnam War (by refraction, in PURÉE). Lighter comedies (What’s up doc?, The strange couple) never disappeared. Even westerns (Butch Cassidy et le Sundance Kid, Little Big Man) played for a laugh.
Indeed, in living memory, the atmosphere of the film has never been so austere as it once was. So it’s good to see even black adult comedy reach the top.