My buddy and I were killing a Sunday afternoon by Netflix streaming another critically reviled movie, “Tommy Boy.” We were talking over it, because, well, if you need total concentration to fully appreciate the trials of Callahan Auto Parts, you’ve ingested more drugs than Chris Farley did on a typical Tuesday.
“But here’s the thing,” my friend continued. “There are two parts in ‘Bucky Larson that made me laugh harder than anything I’ve ever seen in my life.”
I agreed. “I’m not sure if it’s that the badness of the movie that makes the good parts seem better—but when Kevin Nealon says ‘You can tell him that Gary said to EAT MY SHIT,’ I lose it. Every time.”
“I hate it when critics just completely discount ‘shitty’ movies. They have their merits.”
“No, it’s not their fault. ‘Bucky Larson’ really is a terrible, terrible movie. It deserves its goose egg on Rotten Tomatoes. My problem is with the review system itself: Critics evaluate comedies the same way they do ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘The Godfather.’ They don’t take them as seriously, of course, but they review them as full 90-minute films. They discount the quantity of funny three-minute gags. The amount of times you’ll just burst out laughing.
“There needs to be some other type of disclaimer with the comedy review: ‘By the way, if you’re ever kind of drunk and you watch movie, you may think that Kevin Nealon is God.’ Or: ‘If you’re a dick, it’s fun to watch Nick Swardson’s career implode right in front of you.’ Or: ‘If you go into this movie knowing that it will be objectively terrible, you’ll probably find it very funny.’
“Our generation consumes nearly all of its comedy now in three-minute bursts. Or even five-second bursts. Maybe I need to know that a movie like ‘Bucky Larson’ has a Kevin Nealon moment that will enjoyably pop into my head while I’m walking into a grocery store. Maybe I need to know that the movie will make me laugh, like dumb comedies are supposed to do. Not every funny movie has to be ‘Raising Arizona,’ you know?”
“Please. Shut. The. Fuck. Up. I’m trying to watch ‘Tommy Boy.’”
Comedy reviews are broken. Well, broken isn’t really the right word. Critics are just stuck with an impossible task: They’re expected to review a film specifically made for the under-30 set, and they're expected to do this while factoring in their own (older) response and their (older) readers’ opinions.
There should be a disclaimer under each comedy review, a word of encouragement meant for anyone who just want to laugh. Presenting, then, The Lloyd, named after comedy pioneer, and icon of the greatest movie ever, Lloyd Christmas. Do you want to see it in action? Yes, you do.
All of the below movies, save one, scored “Rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes. I have seen all of them at least three times. And, I imagine, most of you have done the same—is there a better way to kill a lazy night than watching a “bad” comedy that you’ve almost fully memorized? Is there a way to quantify that in “serious” reviews? Hit ‘em with the Lloyd.
Serious review: “About all that's worth watching are the snowboarding scenes. The movie opens with a five-minute sequence in which a snowboarder hot dogs down a mountain and jumps a few cliffs. Even though no one in the film breaks a leg, Out Cold is as lame as it gets.” — USA Today
The Lloyd: “Out Cold” contains a scene where Zach Galifianakis gets black-out drunk, is carried into a stationary car, and is put in the driver's seat while the car is spun around. He's then woken up and made to believe he has to take control of a car careening off a road. He freaks out in classic Galifianakis fashion. Does that interest you?
Serious review: “While it would be unfair to saddle MacGruber with the “worst SNL movie of all-time” moniker (I can think of at least two that are more painful to endure), its place on the vaunted 2010 Worst 10 list is assured.” — ReelViews
The Lloyd: “MacGruber” contains a running joke in which Will Forte begs to perform fellatio on the people he's trying to pump (heh) information. It's a running joke that lasts the entire film. It's a marvel in actor debasement, and I'm laughing in my head as I type this.
Respected review: “My best suggestion for people who insist on going to see this immense waste of time? Go drunk.” — Chicago Sun-Times
Disclaimer: Well, yeah. Watch it drunk. You’ll love it. Better yet, watch it drunk—but with a keen mind, set for learning—and you'll retain almost a hundred new ways from this film in telling someone how drunk you are. And isn't it worth seeing so you can know why everyone at the bar is screaming “Das Boot!”? (I mean, besides the fact that people have also been saying it at Oktoberfest for decades?)
Serious review: “The kind of flick that serves itself up as the object of its own satire.” — Globe and Mail
The Lloyd: Putting aside the fact that there are at least 100 different ways this movie has predicted the state of sports today (another day, another column), Trey Parker's brilliant psych-outs will sometimes come back to you during intramural softball games. And they're brutal when executed well.
Serious Review: “This 100-minute movie only has about 25 minutes of decent material.” — Globe and Mail
The Lloyd: Difficult to pick just one scene to highlight here, but how about this… The Lloyd: A man eats ounces of marijuana, slowly goes insane, and begins to lick the backseat of a cop car while saying, “The snozzberries taste like snozzberries.” Never have drug hallucinations seemed so implausible, yet somehow so attainable.
Serious Review: “Goofy marijuana movie with weak plot.” — Common Sense Media
The Lloyd: This is inarguably the crowning moment of Dave Chappelle's cinematic career. And considering the fact that he and Neal Brennan wrote the script in, like, a weekend, it's pretty incredible that this was even made. Watch it if you feel like appreciating a fellow slacker.
And for any scene with Mr. Nice Guy.
Serious Review: “As in waiting for it to be over.” — USA Today
The Lloyd: At one point, Ryan Reynolds has dinner with his mother and recounts the sordid events of his previous night. He.. you know what? Here you go:
Say what you will about his recent dramatic choices, but his comic delivery and choice in women should never be questioned.
Serious Review: “Should be toe-tagged and shoved into the deepest and coldest of video vaults.” — The Washington Post
The Lloyd: JUST FOR THIS MOVIE, Matt Damon took time out from his very successful and very acclaimed career to shave his head, dress like a member of Blink 182, and sing a rock song called “Scotty Doesn't Know” while making out with song-inspiration “Fiona.” You owe it to Matt Damon to see this movie. Matt Damon.
Serious Review: “Sex Drive is just awful. It's also inspired. It's perhaps the worst teen comedy ever created. It's also an unapologetically broad and insular work.” — DVD Talk
The Lloyd: There is a scene in which Rex and Ian discuss whether they have gay fantasies. And this is an actual quote: “Look, every guy has a fantasy about another guy, but you gotta bury that shit way down, this is America goddamnit.” Surprisingly insightful, like the rest of the film.
Serious Review: “There are about three minutes of funny material in Happy Gilmore, and pretty much all of them are in the trailer.” — Variety
The Lloyd: Bob Barker, “You're going to die clown!!!” a head-shaking Lee Trevino, “Go back to your shanties!” Happy's Bruins jersey, shaking down the blonde-afro'd caddie, the batting cage, a Fellini-esque sequence featuring a cowboy midgets riding on a tricycle. I don't need to sell this anymore.
Serious Review: “[The film] does a very thorough job of reducing every recognizable member of the cast to probable career lows.” — Entertaiment Weekly
The Lloyd: Lacrosse bro-bashing Peter Dante at one point says the line, “I'm way too high to drive to the devil's house!” It's a more or less perfect encapsulation of the movie.
Serious Review: “Don't watch it on an airplane, don't check it out on cable, don't walk past the bargain basement bin where it's been sold.” — Ebert and Roeper
The Lloyd: Don't want to see this movie? Okay. Would you like to have something to talk about for the six months? Just sit in a room with a bunch of dudes and constantly quote this film. Right now, somewhere, that exact situation is happening.
“Dumb and Dumber”
Serious Review: “The wholeheartedness of this descent into crude and rude humor is so good-natured and precise that it's hard not to partake in the guilty pleasures of the exercise.” — Variety
The Lloyd: I cheated here. This is actually certified “Fresh!” on Rotten Tomatoes, and isn't a totally critically reviled movie. It's time, though, that something gets the credit it deserves.
Jim Carrey’s dream scene is the funniest scene in movie history. It is the comedy genre's “Vertigo.” It's its “Great Gatsby.” It's the only scene ever to literally make me wet my pants the first time I saw it. Its brilliant absurdities—”Do you love me?” “No, but that's a real nice ski mask!” is an exchange that wouldn't be out of place in a David Lynch film—and its top-notch physical humor—screw Charlie Chaplin, give me Carrey throwing peanuts at his face any day—among its other perfections, ensure that this scene will always hold up.
Just had to get that off my chest.