Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Crazy, Stupid, Skanky
Caution: Angry Rant Ahead!
It has been a long time since I sat in a theater and laughed at a film. Each week, I search through theater listings to find the one new comedy that might possibly give me a chuckle. I sometimes use the IPhone app Flixster to look at trailers. I can't believe how bad some of these trailers are. I get it, children like talking animal comedies. But is it necessary for the trailer to Zookeeper to turn into a TGI Friday's commercial? The most annoying are the the smutty trailers made for horny teenagers. The sexual hijinks of Bad Teacher and Horrible Bosses, which are meant to shock viewers into laughter, is wasted on me. It simply doesn't get me convulsing with laughter to hear Cameron Diaz mutter that she'd like to sit on Justin Timberlake's face.
I was outright offended by the trailer to Crazy, Stupid, Love.
The film cannot decide if it's a silly romantic comedy or a meaningful true-to-life relationship drama. Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Gleiberman said that the film has a "bone-deep sadness" and "observational shrewdness." Is that what the film is when Carell learns that his wife has cheated on him and reacts by tumbling out of a moving car? The trailer leads me to believe that the film is about how Carell takes lessons from a stud (Ryan Gosling) to become more of an alpha male so that he can win back his wife. The lessons have something to do with a man wearing stylish suits and doing a massive amount of sit-ups to define his abs. And it also has something to do with Gosling sticking his junk in Carell's face.
The foolish wimp that Carell plays is too pathetic to earn my sympathy or hold my interest. The film's perverse values are even less appealing. The Hollywood principle is that, when a man cheats on his wife, he deserves to get kicked to the curb. Some women would cry out for the man to be castrated, too. However, a woman cheats on her husband and the husband is supposed to hang his head in shame and do everything he can to win back the cheating skank. Oh, please, I feel a bone-deep nausea.
I saw Carell on Charlie Rose. As he spoke about Crazy, Stupid, Love, he expressed no interest in making people laugh. He was, by no indication, the old-fashioned clown willing to knock himself out in a commitment to the all-consuming make-'em-laugh ethos. He came across, instead, as a serious artist only interested in indulging his own whims. He made it clear in his remarks that he was content to have made the film that he set out to make. He spoke about wanting to spend more time with his family (the reason he left The Office) and finding film projects that allowed him to work with actors whom he admired. This was not a man willing to break a sweat to please his fans. It was, in the end, all about him.
These days, a comedian does not need to create a substantial body of work to be declared an icon. A comedian can have one big hit and coast on it for years. Rose praised Carell for his work on The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), which is the film that made the actor a star, but he never mentioned the lesser films that followed. It is probably wise not to talk about Evan Almighty (2007), Dan in Real Life (2007), Get Smart (2008), Date Night (2010) and Dinner for Schmucks (2010). Date Night, which teamed Carell with Tina Fey, was actually a success at the box office, but no one would dare to call the film a comedy classic. But Carell has no reason to worry. His current net worth is $54 million. His salary for Crazy, Stupid, Love alone was $15 million. Here is a photo of the man's lavish estate.
Carell has enough money to live in luxury for the rest of his life if no one comes to see another one of his films. He does not need to be a funny clown when he has the money to be a smug millionaire.
It could be that I got the wrong impression. Maybe, Carell wasn't so jaded as he seemed. It could be that the subdued setting of the Rose show put him into a more sober mood and he decided to save up all of his funny faces for the Jimmy Kimmel show. Still, I might be feeling more gracious if I could see something funny from Carell or his illustrious peers. Really, is Mr. Popper's Penguins the best that Jim Carrey has to offer these days?