Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad… Wait…

One of my favorite movies of all time is It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. It’s a veritable “Who’s Who” of mid-20th Century Hollywood. It’s a terrific California time capsule. But most of all its construction is perfect. The way it builds and builds is sublime.

So… how come it isn’t funny?

Seriously, I have loved this movie all my life but it almost always puts me to sleep. I love it on an intellectual level. As a comedy writer, I love the efficiency and technique; it’s beautiful.

But nobody’s funny.

Is it because of all the years that have passed? Is it dated? No, that can’t be it. Many silent comedies still hold their charm and wit. They make me laugh. Comedy does not need to come with an expiration date.

Is it familiarity, the fact that I’ve seen it so many times? No. Again, I’ve seen those silent films many times, too.

This wouldn’t bother me so much if this movie wasn’t so beautifully put together. But the fact is its construction is on the money. It makes sense. It builds. It surpri…


I was going to write that it surprises. Like with Dick Shawn comes running after his mother after being so obviously high with a girl. Or when the cops get into the “game” of it. But, you know, those are the exceptions. I realize now that may be the problem with it

It’s like a gothic cathedral of comedy. Everything is where it should be, where you expect it. It’s a shout out to the classic jokes and actors – but without its own jokes. And maybe that’s where it goes wrong.

It may be Mad, Mad, Mad… but there’s very little that’s really crazy about it.

Still, I’ll watch it and enjoy it’s perfect lines and solid construction. After all, it is one of my favorites.

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