50/50 Review #35: My Favorite Year.

As one of the characters quotes in the movie, "Death is easy. Comedy is hard." Indeed. The film follows Benjy (Mark Linn-Baker), a writer for an SNL-like show. When a drunken, promiscuous old action movie star named Alan Swann (Peter O'Toole) is going to guest on the show, it's up to Benjy to keep him in line and make sure he makes the show on time. And there's a few subplots thrown in, as well, included a gangster who is upset about one of the sketches.

Sound familiar? It should. The film is basically Get Him To The Greek as if it were directed by Woody Allen (though this isn't an Allen flick--the comparison comes from a clear love of movies that permeates through the story, witty dialogue, a Jewish lead character, and a New York setting). And I couldn't stop making that comparison while watching. And similarly to the aforementioned film, the drunken, promiscuous celebrity is the reason to see the movie. Peter O'Toole's performance in this film is phenomenal. Almost all the humor in this film comes from him.

Here's the tricky part, though. Humor is such a subjective thing that what one finds funny, another will certainly not. Unfortunately, I didn't find much of this movie funny. I chuckled maybe twice in this movie and really only smiled a couple more times than that. In fact, I was more bored by the film than anything, and I found I was constantly checking the time.

The story is a little disjointed, as well. Outside of the main story, there are a few subplots, as I mentioned earlier. There's the subplot about a sketch they want to do about gangsters, but it's apparently based on a real gangster, and the man isn't happy about it so he keeps sabotaging things and attempting to hurt and/or kill the show's star. There's another sketch planned about the three musketeers since Peter O'Toole's character plays an actor who does a lot of swashbuckling films. There's a minor subplot about a character who never speaks for himself but through other people. And there's a subplot about Benjy trying to get together with one of the women he works with, who doesn't want anything to do with him. That subplot literally goes nowhere and has no real affect on the story whatsoever. It's basically dropped about halfway into the movie. The other subplots all come to a head in the climax, but I didn't find it all that funny or exciting of a scene.

Besides a few pacing issues, it's really not a bad film. It's just that comedy is so subjective, and in this case... this style just wasn't for me. I thought it felt forced and needed to be more consistently wittier and with faster dialogue or something. It felt like a movie that was made to be snappy but didn't quite go there. But I did get a couple chuckles out of it, and Peter O'Toole is excellent in the film. If anything, see it for him. (And for the record, with the exception of a couple scenes... I didn't overly love Get Him To The Greek, either.)

Stop Saying OK! OK.

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