Culture

Two new comedies twist the genre, for better and worse

Take a trip to ‘Bruges’

The British action-comedy In Bruges accomplishes a rare feat: It literally made me laugh so hard I cried.

The story follows two hit men, Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell), who are instructed by their boss to lie low in the Belgian tourist town of Bruges until further notice. Conflict first arises when Ray pouts like a toddler for being sent to Bruges, but as the audience learns of their past, the story begins to take shape.

The film may have its serious moments and an action backdrop, but it is foremost a comedy. The laughs come throughout, but the humor is mainly derived from tone. Sure, Farrell’s sulking and Gleeson’s enthusiasm are a great comedic combination, but there are so many little moments that cause more laughter than any film in recent memory. It may be a character’s glance or a camera angle that sets up an amusing sight gag, but all of the humor is decidedly oddball. Farrell is wonderful as the sardonic and quick-witted Ray, but his friendship with Gleeson’s Ken is a large reason why the film works beyond its comedic thrust.

Though the plot does leave something to be desired, In Bruges is a packed with enough laughs for 10 comedies.

‘Be Kind Rewind’ is worth a rental

Be Kind Rewind is a well-intentioned comedy that provides for lighter fare in a traditionally barren time of year for movies.

Mos Def stars as a video store clerk in Passaic, New Jersey. His friend (Jack Black) becomes magnetized through a power plant incident and accidentally erases all the videotapes in the store. When customers demand tapes they no longer have, the two begin remaking films such as Ghostbusters and Robocop. Even though the films have the production value of a home movie shot by a frenzied adolescent, they are made with heart and pride. The films bring the struggling community together, and they soon request the entire library be remade.

Director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) has made a name for himself through creativity and strangeness, and Be Kind Rewind has both in spades. But the structure is out-of-whack, with the remake plotline not beginning until well into the movie and a serious conflict only hovering in the background. It seems as if Gondry got caught up so much in his story that he lost a bit of cohesion along the way.

Still, anyone looking for a thoroughly imaginative film should be satisfied. Just do not expect conventions to be followed.

Gabe Habash may be contacted at g.habash@umiami.edu.

February 25, 2008

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