There’s Nothing Funny About 12-Year-Olds as Onstage Romantic Interests and Ben Stiller
It occurred to me while sitting in my room and pondering what to write about that most of my potential subjects involved me being disappointed and my expectations being destroyed.
Firstly, I completed the run for “Trip to Bountiful” with the Schenectady Civic Players and was itching to get involved in another play. I’d had a great experience and worked with some great people, and so I was eager to hit the ground running. I ended up finally locating an e-mail distribution list that various local actors had recommended to me, but none of whom had ever been able to successfully point me towards. Theater folks, perhaps not surprisingly, aren’t exactly tech savvy.
I ended up finding the list all on my lonesome and saw something that looked promising. It was a Western farce that I’d never heard of (subsequent searches on the internet turned up nothing). Since my desire isn’t to bury the company in question in a public forum, I’m not going to name it or the play they’re performing. Let’s just say that I was willing to accept a smaller role than I was offered and wasn’t a snob about the script (even though the writing was so atrocious and style of humor so borderline insulting I literally winced while reading it). However, having a 12-year-old girl portray my character’s adult love interest, even with the promise of no inappropriate contact onstage? No thanks. Sorry, can’t do it, especially when there’s no argument of “art” for it. And even then…no. I literally have nieces that are older.
So there was that great disappointment followed a few nights later by a viewing of “Tropic Thunder.” It was a great concept, but Christ did it get lazy quick. The only saving grace was, perhaps not surprisingly, Robert Downey, Jr.’s performance (and his refusal to break character as “Lincoln Osiris” during the guest commentary on the DVD). The rest, however, fell on typical conventions in a manner that didn’t provide a familiar wink to the audience so much as acknowledged their presence with an aggravated sigh followed by an insincere pantomime of tired schticks, phoned in performances, and one-note jokes that were driven into the ground like a railroad spike.
Jack Black’s character in particular was a huge missed opportunity – rather than rightfully lampooning and skewering once-edgy comedians who sell out in such quick and transparent fashion that even the rest of Hollywood viewed them with disgust, they made him a heroin addict and left that as his sole character trait. Perhaps exploring any further aspect of that character would’ve hit too close to home for some of the film’s stars.
It’s just a damn shame that such a dense and fantastic concept for a film was executed so sloppily. As it stands, “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” continues to be the most recent film I’ve seen that actually made me laugh on a somewhat consistent basis. I know, that last statement makes me look like a pretentious grump, but understand that I don’t watch a Hell of a lot of comedies. Also that the comedies Hollywood puts out these days tend to be complete garbage.
On the plus side, I have an incredible lady who provides a respite from frustrations derived from my pursuit of a creative outlet and immensely disappointing Ben Stiller films. Also, she’s not twelve years old. Also, The Decemberists’ “The Hazards of Love” has finally grown on me to the point that I actually like it. Which is a shame, because it’s a blast to make fun of. C’est la vie.