Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mystery Men (1999)

One measure of a genre's maturity is when it starts inspiring spoofs.  And yes, I guess those count for the project.  So:  Mystery Men

Good premise.  Some good gags.  I don't know, though.  I had the same reaction to this that I usually have when I watch American comedies:  I started wondering whether I really have become just another humorless leftwing academic. 

I mean, I can't stand Saturday Night Live and most of its spawn, and unfortunately SNL has defined the American comedic mainstream for, like, my whole life.  The basic SNL mode is class-clown obnoxious: bullying, smug, high-fiving, cruel, lazy, dumb.  I was about fourteen when I realized that the SNL strategy was entirely built around trying to find the next inane catchphrase that all the kids would be parroting on the bus next Monday morning.

TV sitcoms I avoid like the plague.

And it's no better with the other culture whose filmed production I'm familiar with.  I hate Japanese TV comedians, too.  Manzai acts, "variety" shows, all that shit.  Repulses me when it doesn't bore me, bores me when it doesn't repulse me.

So maybe I am a dour kind of guy.  And yet I can laugh hysterically, without restraint, at things I do find funny.  Coen Brothers.  Mitani Kōki.  Joss Whedon.  So I don't think I lack a sense of humor...

Anyway.  I didn't really laugh at this movie.  Chuckled occasionally.  I wanted to like it.  I like the premise.  I like the idea of sad-sack working-class superheroes.  Superheroes with weird, perhaps embarrassing powers.  I mean, it picks up on something central to the X-Men mythos, the idea that the superhero story is a story about physical or mental difference, and in the real world difference is not celebrated but denigrated.

But it just wasn't funny.

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