2 February 2018 | Hellmant
A strong TV feel to it!
'A FUTILE AND STUPID GESTURE': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A comedy biopic about writer Doug Kenney, who was the main contributor to the success of National Lampoon in the 1970s and 80s. The film stars Will Forte as Kenney, and it was directed by David Wain (who also helmed 'WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER', and several episodes of the TV series based on it). It costars Domhnall Gleeson, Martin Mull, Emmy Rossum, Matt Walsh, Joel McHale, and many others (in cameos as famous comedians). The movie was scripted by John Aboud and Michael Colton, and it's based on the book (of the same name) by Josh Karp. The film was released by Netflix through it's streaming site, and it's gotten mixed to positive reviews from critics. I found it to be both educational and funny, but it's also a little too dark and unbalanced.
The film is narrated by Doug Kenney, supposedly in modern day (Mull). He tells his life story, starting when he was in his twenties (Forte); when he and his best friend Henry Beard (Gleeson) decided to create the magazine National Lampoon. It of course became a huge success, and blockbuster movies followed (like 'ANIMAL HOUSE' and 'CADDYSHACK'). Kenney could never be content, or happy, still though.
I knew nothing about Doug Kenney previous to seeing this movie, but I love his work. So I was absolutely fascinated by this film, and I of course found it to be very educational. I also loved seeing all of these other actors portraying other famous actors (like Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and John Belushi). I also just really enjoyed seeing how these classic comedy films, and that famous comedy magazine, came to life. Forte is great in the lead too, and the supporting cast is all more than adequate. The film, as funny and interesting as it often is, is still really dark and depressing though. It left me with mixed feelings about how I really felt about it as a whole. It's also got a strong TV feel to it, which kind of cheapens what should have been a theatrical film feel (the story deserved a theatrical presentation at least).