Monday, November 18, 2013

InAPPropriate Comedy - 2013

"InAPPropriate Comedy" - 2013
Dir. by Vince Offer - 1 hr. 23 min.

Official Red Band Trailer

by Clayton Hollifield

I knew that "InAPPropriate Comedy" would be bad, I just didn't know how bad it would be.  As it turns out, it's pretty rough.  I can't get upset about the content of the film, it's pretty up front about exactly what kind of sense of humor is at work here; director (and Sham-Wow pitchman) Vince Offer is not trying to sneak anything by anyone.  One of the fundamental problems is that a sketch comedy movie is difficult to pull off, and this isn't "Kentucky Fried Movie" (or even "Jackass," for that matter), the other problem is that while Offer is trying to push the envelope as far as he can, the sketches sometimes forget that humor is the point of comedy.  Being offensive can be one tool to that end, but here, the material that was intended to be the most offensive (namely, the "Amazing Racist" sequences) doesn't really seem to work to serve any further purpose.

This is a sketch comedy movie, with a few recurring bits, so there's not much point in talking about plot.  Three recurring sketches run through the film, with a few one-off bits, so we'll talk about those.  Two of the bits are pretty decent, even if they're kind of one-joke premises.  "Blackass" (a ghetto-themed "Jackass" parody) works, sort on the same level that "Jackass" does, and if "InAPPropriate Comedy" had just been ninety minutes of "Blackass," it would have been a better movie.  There's also "Flirty Harry," a "Dirty Harry" spoof, starring Adrien Brody as a double-entendre-spouting, pink capri pant-wearing version of the Clint Eastwood character.  The Flirty Harry stuff works, chiefly because it doesn't overstay it's welcome, and hits all the big stuff you'd want to spoof if you were going to do a bit like this, and also because it's fun to see Adrien Brody doing something utterly stupid (I mean that as a compliment) with total commitment.

As for the third major recurring sketch, "The Amazing Racist," it's the part that I had the most trouble with.  This can be a tough concept to explain sufficiently, as I've tried to explain why South Park's Cartman's racist material isn't really racist (it comes down to Cartman looking like a buffoon for espousing the ideas, and his lack of credibility means that the things he says are immediately assumed to be without merit, which ultimately discredits the racist material) to family members, and I can't say they entirely get it.  It's a fine line to tread, and the material in this movie falls on the wrong side of it.  Most of the time, and I was unclear whether actor Ari Shaffir was generating the material with non-actors or not, but the vast bulk of the material came off as simple race-baiting.  I guess the joke is to figure out what would happen if you just went around saying the most racist things you could to people's faces, but there wasn't a larger point to it (or any sense that Shaffir was going to get his comeuppance - yes, there is a bit at the end that suggests otherwise, but that bit was clearly staged, and the others weren't).  Without making Shaffir the buffoon (it just felt more like being a bully than him saying things that he actually believed in that happened to be really offensive), and without a larger point being made, it's just some dude being a jerk to people.

Having said all of that, there were two things included in the "Racist" material that were pretty funny, even if they were minor details.  One had Shaffir ranting at the US/Mexico border, with the border fence behind him, only for the film crew to legitimately find a pair of presumably illegal immigrants actually in the act of sneaking across the border off in the distance.  The other point came after Shaffir had been assaulted by someone he had been baiting, and a policeman breaks up the fight.  Shaffir tries to explain that it's a hidden camera show, and when the cop asks not what he's doing, but whether or not he's got a filming permit.  It's a perfect Los Angeles question, and even better when Shaffir has to admit that he doesn't have the permit.  If it had been scripted it would have lent some legitimacy to the rest of the material; the implication is that he's going to be in more trouble for not having a filming permit than for offering black people free boat rides back to Africa.

This might seem like an excessive amount of thought to devote to what is most definitely not a good movie, not by any stretch of the imagination.  At the same time, I think that you can frequently learn more from failures than from successes; often times, great pieces of art are seamless in their construction.  This is the second sketch comedy movie that Vince Offer has done, and both are more notable for the actors that he convinced to get involved than for the actual material within.  I haven't seen "The Underground Comedy Movie," (aside from the late-night commercials for it that used to litter TV), but it might be time for Offer to see what happens if he directs a full-length movie that follows one plot.  I'm not going to pretend that I didn't get a few laughs out of this one, but there are too many one-joke premises (and the troublesome "Amazing Racist" material) and not enough made out of those premises to add up to much.  At the same time, I'm more sure than ever that Offer would be a riot to have a beer (or ten) with; how else to explain Adrien Brody, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan, and Rob Schneider getting involved here?

.5 / 5 - Streaming

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