Sunday, May 20, 2012

Glorious guffaws: 10 cackle-worthy comedies

(From the May 16-31/“Happiness” issue of The Fortnightly)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

   Here are some worthwhile comedy flicks, a few recent ones and a couple from the previous decade or so, in no particular order:

Shameless culture-shocking: Borat (2006)
   Sacha Baron Cohen’s Kazakh character Borat shocks and stuns with his odd and sexist behavior. His activities during his American visit include stalking former Baywatch star Pam Anderson and exhibiting outlandish table manners, among many others.

Back-to-school bumbling: 21 Jump Street (2012)
   Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill play cops who go undercover in this adventurous re-imagining of the ‘80s teen cop drama series. Memorable cameos also make this film even more enjoyable.

Sisterhood celebration: Bridesmaids (2011)
   Poignant when dealing with some female friends’ suffering relationship, but gut-busting when depicting their bungling or icky situations, Bridesmaids offers a uniquely rewarding viewing experience. Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph are just so incredibly talented.

Gross-out romancing: There’s Something About Mary (1998)
   The Farrelly Brothers’ hit rom-com/gross-fest is timelessly riotous; Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz’ unforgettable and much-talked about scenes are still effective and somewhat disturbing.

Espionage eccentricities: Austin Powers (1997)
   Bombastic and colorful, the first Austin Powers pointed out and parodied the absurdities of the old Bond films. It introduced the groovy, time-displaced agent and his constantly disrespected arch-foe Dr. Evil.

Rib-tickling sibling revelry: Step Brothers (2008)
   Unapologetically lowbrow, the film has crude titular siblings played by Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. There’s a consistently irreverent tackling of maturity and family issues.

Superb super-spy spoof: OSS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies (2006)
   Jean Dujardin plays an arrogant, ignorant agent, a self-absorbed lout with repressed feelings for his close male friend. A parody of the James Bond character, OSS 117’s brashness and politically incorrect antics inspire hearty laughs.

Loony law enforcement: The Other Guys (2010)
   The action-comedy flick’s odd couple-ish detective partners struggle to prove themselves; Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell are surprisingly funny together, and Michael Keaton charms as the captain with multiple jobs and TLC references.

The temporary amnesiacs: The Hangover (2009)
   A bunch of friends gather for an impending wedding, but forget where they left the groom after a night of intense partying. It’s just wrong--and amusing--on so many levels.

Good times a-changing: Superbad (2007)
   Two teen best buds’ friendship is changing, and high school is ending. Michael Cera and Jonah Hill’s characters confront their fears and figure in some endearingly awkward scenarios. Plus, Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s McLovin gets away with stuff!

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