He’saback! Unfortunately some would say… but not me! Love it here. Thanks to ma grrl Renate for letting me have another crack at posting on her fantastic blog and I’ll be linking to my homeblog below if ya like what ya read.
A new release on Netflix, A Futile And Stupid Gesture chronicles the humble beginnings of National Lampoon magazine, which soon went on to influence American comedy in a huge way, bringing irreverent and dark humour to the US masses — and then onto produce smash-hit movies like Animal House and Caddyshack. All of this is centred on Doug Kenney, the driving force behind it all, played by Will Forte (Nebraska, The Last Man On Earth).
I enjoyed the film a reasonable amount I must say. Will Forte delivered a fine performance in the lead role, with his quick wit and sharp delivery coming in handy with the character study, as did Domhall Gleeson (Frank, Ex Machina), who almost topped his co-star with a much more reserved yet likeable performance. His deadpan expressions and ability to stretch a little further than Forte, dramatically, solidifies why he’s one of my favourite actors at the moment. That being said, some of the most enjoyable actors to watch were those playing Bill Murray and Chevy Chase, Jon Daly and Joel McHale respectively, as they managed to capture the unmistakable likeness of their characters brilliantly.
However, my main criticism of the film is the some of the really misjudged storytelling devices, including the use of Martin Mull to play a would-be present day Doug and narrate the story in a weird, fourth-wall breaking but also documentarian kinda way. It’s a really good idea too, but the execution was wonky to say the most and an odd choice for the movie, considering the context. I also wasn’t a fan of how many assumptions and liberties the filmmakers took with the story, especially the ending where *SPOILERS GUYS DON’T IF YOU HAVEN’T YA DIG??* it’s heavily implied the Doug killed himself when, in real life, it’s much more ambiguous *YA ALRIGHT NOW IT’S K*. I mean, yeah, they did admit the changed stuff in the story and even played it to comedic effect, but, as I’ve said many times before, just because you admit it doesn’t mean it’s excused, and I think A Futile And Stupid Gesture would’ve been more effective if it had just stuck with the original story — it’s wild enough at least.
Overall, Netflix’s A Futile And Stupid Gesture is a perfectly enjoyable way to explore the surface level of National Lampoon’s story, and is hopefully enough to inspire one to dig a little deeper, with an entertaining cast of performances and light tone. However, it’s pick-n-choose approach to the more biographical aspects of this film render it much less effective, as well as it’s wavering tone and pacing, which left me feeling disappointed.
My rating: 6.8/10
Thanks again to Renate, twas a pleasure indeed. And if you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out Stuff And That, we combine the writing power of two weak amateurs, questionable taste and an undying need for attention — I know, tempting, right?
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations