November 12, 2007

Comebacks Should Go Back

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The parody genre is in danger. Aside from the Scary Movie series, which have been enormous box office successes and the hay day of Mel Brooks’ films, the genre has dipped in recent years. The Comebacks makes Date Movie and Epic Movie look like pioneers of the genre. This movie was so awful it was sickening. Given the choice, I’d rather watch the dumb ditzy uneducated high school girls on The Hills gossiping about who’s dating who and questioning what caviar is, than watch this movie.

Basically, what it looks like the writers did for The Comebacks is take every sports movie ever created, put it into a blender, turn it on and whatever stuck, stuck. In reality, this movie has only three well-executed references to past sports films. The others are just stuff they tossed in for the sake of squeezing it into the film somewhere. They forced the issue by trying to make this a parody. It gives parodies a bad name and that’s a bad thing. They even tried to make an allusion to Airplane!, which made me want to shoot myself. A great film like that one shouldn’t be associated with this.

The Comebacks is a spoof on past inspirational sports films, including Invincible, Friday Night Lights, Miracle, Gridiron Gang, and whatever other movie they could get their greasy hands on. This movie, if you could even call it that, follows Lambeau “Coach” Fields (David Koechner), an out-of-luck coach cursed with stupidity and on a quest to take a football team full of misfits to the Championship. Koechner is the guy who played dimwit Champ Kind in Anchorman, in case you were wondering. Watching this makes you question whether Koechner is actually funny in his past work.

Facing off against Coach is the brute Carl Weathers as the coach of a rival, unbeatable football team. You might ask, “Hey, isn’t that the guy from Rocky?” And I’ll say yes. And then you might say, “I thought Apollo Creed died in Rocky IV and then was reincarnated as Chubs and died again in Happy Gilmore.” Well, my response again would be yes, but in The Comebacks, it’s just his career that died, not his character in the story.

The Comebacks displays nothing remotely effective or clever in its humor. I wasn’t too concerned about the story being unbelievably predictable (after all it’s a spoof), but what was torturous for me was sitting through the barrage of predictable jokes that can be seen coming from a mile away. And then, when the jokes finally arrive, they drag on and on for far too long. With a 70-minute runtime, you just roll your eyes and think, “I must hate myself to sit through this garbage.”

Sexual euphemisms can be playful and often quite funny. But their constant overuse here just adds to the lifelessness. Initially I thought that maybe the thought of it being so-stupid-it’s-funny would make me laugh, but that was not the case at all.

Since this is a football story, you have to have a star quarterback. Of course, the studio in their infinite wisdom decided to cast Matthew Lawrence. You might remember him from a little TV show called Boy Meets World, where he played Jack Hunter. Seven years ago the series ended and since then he’s made a few brief appearances on some other shows. You wouldn’t know that though, I mean I didn’t. Maybe he should have stayed anonymous and not bothered to resurface in this cesspool of garbage.

Aside from being egregiously awful, I think The Comebacks may be a blessing to a few people in Hollywood. Those members of this small little group would include Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, and the rest of the crew from Good Luck Chuck because it’s solidifies without a shadow of a doubt that Good Luck Chuck is not the worst comedy of the year. It’s probably only second worst, but at least it’s above one movie.
I am in shock and awe that The Comebacks did not go straight to video. This says something about the movie business these days. Honestly, you have to question how this script was approved, got financed and produced, and ultimately released. It’s a shame that something like this gets made while some potentially great scripts are laying around somewhere. A comedy shouldn’t be this tedious to watch. Someone should tell the people involved in this movie that just making reference to a movie doesn’t constitute a joke. Shame on Hollywood for allowing this pathetic monstrosity to be shown in theaters.