Garlin’s New Movie Is Twisted, Awkward, And Completely Hilarious

Courtesy: IFC Films

Courtesy: IFC Films

Writer/comedian/director Jeff Garlin’s (Curb Your Enthusiasm) new indie comedy Dealin’ With Idiots is twisted. It’s awkward. And it’s absolutely hilarious.  The near ninety-minute comedy sees Garlin’s Max Morris living in an upper middle-class city.  There’s just one problem. He’s surrounded by some of the most peculiar individuals that one could even begin to imagine at his son’s little league baseball games. The team’s coach is a nobody, working in a dead job. He has a severe Napoleon complex of sorts as a result. The parents of the players are just as bad. They’re completely outlandish characters. Yet the irony of these parents is that there is a certain modicum of truth about their character styles. This is one of the keys to the success of this movie.  Just as important to the movie’s success is the ability of its cast to interpret the movie’s script effectively.  The case is made up of some of the most respected names in comedy today.  These two factors alone are enough to make this movie one of the year’s funniest comedies, indie or otherwise.

The story behind Dealin’ With Idiots is a simple one. It puts Garlin’s Max Morris among a group of stereotypical sports parents in the world of little league baseball.  Audiences will laugh out loud watching the behavior of Max’s fellow parents as they sit on the bleachers, watching their kids play, basically doing what so many parents do.  Any viewer that denies the reality of what’s portrayed in this story is probably in fact one of the very parent types spoofed in the story’s script.  Bob Odenkirk’s Coach Jimbo and Richard Kind’s (Spin City) Harold are two of the funniest of the story’s characters. That’s because of their realism and their portrayal by their respective actors. Far too many people can say that they know of someone like Coach Jimbo.  He’s a jobber who is trying to make up for his own lack of an exciting life by taking on coaching duties of a children’s sports team. It’s also to make up for his own shortcomings earlier in life, just as Coach Jimbo points out having had himself.  And Harold is the stereotypical neighborhood man that shows off in public as a means to cover up his less than stellar personal life. When they are put alongside their fellow rogue’s gallery of characters, Coach Jimbo, Harold, and the rest of the characters make for more than their share of laughs as Max observes their contradictory lifestyles on and off of the bleachers. Simply put, it’s something that absolutely must be seen to be appreciated.  Audiences should take into account that this is not a movie for everyone.  Not everyone will get the humor incorporated into the script.  But those that do get the story will appreciate it and find themselves laughing nonstop from beginning to end.

Garlin’s script for his movie is smart, witty, and humorously twisted in its own way.  This critic should reiterate here that it is not for everyone.  But those that do get Garlin’s humor will love it each time they watch the story.  Viewers that get his brand of comedy will enjoy just as much the cast chosen to fill out the story.  Some of the top names in comedy fill out the movie’s cast.  Steve Agee, Fred Willard, J.B. Smoove, Jami Gertz, and Gina Gershon join Bob Odenkirk and Richard Kind to make one of the most hilariously bizarre comedy troupes assembled in recent memory.  A big part of what makes the cast’s interpretation of its characters is its experience with improve comedy.  Allegedly, a large amount of the cast’s on-screen interaction if not all, was improv.  That would explain quite a bit.  It would especially at its core, explain why Dealin’ With Idiots is such a hilarious movie, indie flick or not.  It’s a movie that any comedy lover should watch at least once.  More information on this and other releases from IFC Films is available online at http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial and http://www.IFCFilms.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Three Stooges Update Is Surprisingly Funny

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox

The Farrelly Brothers’ take on everyone’s favorite comic trio is surprisingly entertaining.  On the surface, it would seem that it’s little more than the same style movie as Hollywood’s big screen reboot of Dennis The Menace or The Little Rascals.  But the reality is that those re-imaginings pale in comparison.  Sure the Farrelly Brothers have done much the same thing as what those flicks did.  But at the same time, it’s obvious that they really did attempt to pay homage to the original Stooges.

At first glance, the very thought of modernizing the Stooges makes no sense.  After the utter failures that were Dennis the Menace (and its equally awful sequels) and The Little Rascals, the natural reaction here is to shake one’s head that much the same has been done here.  And while the pop culture references abound (E.g. Jersey Shore, Geico Auto Insurance, etc.), somehow, the Farrelly Brothers managed to balance out the modernization without losing the heart that make the original Stooges so beloved to this day.  Yes, it would have been nice to see the Stooges in their original 1930s and 1940s element.  But at least in this case, the trio’s modernization doesn’t overpower the physical comedy for which Larry, Curly, and Moe became famous.

Sean Hayes (Larry), Chris Diamantopolous (Moe), and Will Sasso (Curly) weren’t the only stars of this big screen remake.  The trio’s interactions with co-stars Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and Brian Doyle-Murray (Groundhog Day, SpongeBob Squarepants, etc.) harkens back to the original Stooges’ bits with its constant supporting cast.  It’s obvious through these interactions and the physical comedy together that despite being modernized, the Farrelly Brothers really were making a valid attempt to do more than just toss something up on screen for the sake of throwing it up on screen.  Unlike the people behind the reimaginings of The Little Rascals and Dennis the Menace, the intent behind this update was obviously to entertain and pay the deserved honor to the original Stooges and their fans, too.

The Farrellys succeeded in entertaining audiences nonstop with the combination of classic slapstick comedy.  It took center stage, rather than the updated surroundings.  The pair should also be commended for taking time immediately after the movie to warn all potentially young audiences that the gags used in the movie were not real.  They point out that the hammers, crowbars and other tools were all rubber.  And the sounds used in coordination with said tools were just that.  They were sound effects and nothing more.  They took the time to say to audiences please don’t try what they saw on screen themselves.  It’s all movie magic.  This might have been a minute factor in the grand scheme of things.  But taking such responsibility is deserving of great respect.  So thank you to the Farrellys for that.  And thank you to the Farrellys for this surprisingly entertaining update on a legendary comic act.

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