The Roar

OPINION: The comedy genre has become a quick cash-grab for major film studios

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Hollywood’s latest monstrosity of a film, “Overboard,” debuted May 4 and received an appalling Rotten Tomatoes score of 31 percent. The movie, which finds its laughs in raunchiness and bodily harm, centers around the idiotic and, frankly, unethical plot of Anna Faris abducting an amnesiac to teach him a lesson.

Yet the film is part of a larger issue that has plagued the movie industry for years: comedy. “Overboard” can be seen as a typical example of the genre due to its low-effort gags and one-liners, which makes a viewer question, “Why did I just spend my Friday night watching this?”

While there are some uncertainties in this world, it is far easier to ask what gives a comedy its unredeemable qualities. In films such as “Overboard,” stories aren’t thought out, and they seem more like a medium for a script’s jokes. Most comedies seem to be a string of punchlines sent to a studio and the rest of the script is ad-libbed for names and a setting.

Nobody is expecting Oscar-winning narratives when they stroll up to a Redbox and rent a DVD titled “Daddy’s Home.” It is an issue, however, when the same film gains its audience’s laughs through physical injury and shock.

“Daddy’s Home,” which pits suburban stepdad Brad Taggart (Will Ferrell) against the biological free-soul father of Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) for the love of their children, finds a majority of its humor in abusing the main characters. Throughout its painful one and half hour runtime, poor Brad is assaulted on numerous occasions and is the victim of a vicious motorcycle incident so dangerous that it would make the Looney Tunes jealous.

That said, while trite, asinine comedies do make up the vast majority of the genre, it is almost unfair to have these types of films representing comedy as a whole. Once in a while, a genuinely well-made movie comes along and manages to tone down its lunacy just enough to make it enjoyable for an hour or two. This is the case with 2017’s “The Disaster Artist,” a film that parodies the production of cult classic “The Room,” often regarded as the worst movie of all time.

Combining its quirky plot with engaging characters, “The Disaster Artist” does not succumb to the pitfalls of modern comedies by placing jokes first and leaving everything else as an afterthought. Rather, it does the complete opposite and demonstrates why its Rotten Tomatoes score is 90 percent. In contrast, “Overboard” has approximately one-third of that.

As presented in “The Disaster Artist,” there is a certain level of quality which a comedy can obtain and, in an ideal world, this would be the standard. Instead, the entire genre has devolved into quick Hollywood cash grabs that seem to value more than anything effortless production.

While a movie must be able to generate enough revenue to support itself, there are high-rated, high-earning films that provide a great viewing experience. Especially in 2018, a year full of blockbusters, comedies are the only films not following this trend, something “Overboard” and its entire genre needs to realize.

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OPINION: The comedy genre has become a quick cash-grab for major film studios