‘The Comedy’ ironically lacks enjoyable humor

(Photo courtesy of Glass Eye Pix)

Release: Nov. 30

Rating: Not Rated

Pitchforks: 2.5/5

 

From the beginning of “The Comedy,” starring Tim Heidecker and directed by Rick Alverson, audience members feel a bit unnerved.

In the movie, the 30-year-old main character seems to be stuck in his teenage years. The film attempts to move and inspire viewers, but more often than not, they’re left feeling uncomfortable.

The movie follows Swanson, who cavorts around town with friends while simultaneously dealing with his father’s impending death. He seems entirely oblivious to any kind of social expectation and tends to go against any that he knows exists.

This lifestyle becomes uncomfortable to watch at times, as he and his like-aged friends do things like slide around on church pews.

In the beginning, audiences get the impression that this is going to be a movie filled with random scenes of people doing silly things with no underlying thought or feeling. However, as the film continues, the storyline inconsistently changes and follows no pattern.

While “The Comedy” is full of unorthodox behavior, there is a deeper meaning behind these actions. The film attempts to convey a message about communication between people.

The conversations shared among Swanson and his friends are thoughtful and compelling at times, but when speaking to those outside of this exclusive group, Swanson finds no connection with them.

This allows the film to take a legitimate look at emotional maturity and examines the way people connect with one another.

Swanson and his friends refuse to act within social norms. They joke about subjects in a way that leaves the audience wondering if they’re really joking at all. Their behavior is always out of the ordinary and they seem to thrive on this.

The movie strives to make an underlying and compelling theme apparent in certain scenes, but sometimes the moral of the story is completely lost.

For the first half of the movie, it is hard to tell whether the storyline is going anywhere or if any sort of meaning is going to present itself at all. The movie picks up as Swanson begins to display emotions that show him actively participating in the world around him, but then he slips back into old behaviors, and it feels like that sign of personal growth is gone.

“The Comedy” is slow moving. There are scenes that are permeated with real meaning and direction, but they seem to be too little, too late, and it feels as if there is an end-piece missing.

Swanson shows some growth in some scenes, but overall, he stays the same person. Although this exhibits an interesting idea about the way that people function over time, it also leaves the film with no distinctive thematic direction.

 

Reach the reporter at mmgilber@asu.edu