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The Comedy

By MICHAEL NORDINE
[TWO DAYS ONLY] Nearly everything that happens in Rick Alverson’s The Comedy is uncomfortable, off-putting and morally reprehensible. But the events also amount to a hilarious and needed screed against the ennui and insincerity of the film’s characters. Starring Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric fame, The Comedy evinces a sensibility-testing variety of anti-comedy, like that pioneered by Andy Kaufman and seen more recently in Jackass. The loose narrative—really a series of semi-connected stunts—follows Heidecker’s Swanson as he and his equally overprivileged friends ride fixies, down PBR by the six-pack and quell their boredom by engaging in mean-spirited stunts directed at any poor soul kind enough to give them the time of day. Though Alverson and his onscreen cohorts initially appear to be building a monument to disaffected hipsterdom, they’re in fact knocking it down and examining what substance—if any—might be found among the oversized sunglasses and cutoff shorts. Swanson takes antisocial behavior to a new level of cruelty, but it’s all a defense mechanism. He carries out misdeed after misdeed in order to provoke a reaction from people more in touch with the normal spectrum of human emotion, doing this to gain a sense of what it’s like to care something for the world around him. At times, The Comedy feels disjointedly episodic in the way it strings incidents together with little connective tissue between them, but it maintains such a compelling tension between humor and discomfort that it’s often hard to notice. The results are not unlike a horror movie: The only thing more difficult than continuing to watch is averting your eyes and missing what might happen next.
 

Special Note

Clinton Street Theater. 8 pm Wednesday and 7:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 30-31
 
  • Genres: Drama
  • Running Time: 90 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Critic's Score: B
  • Starring: Neil Hamburger [Bobby], Tim Heidecker [Swanson], Rock Kohli [Raj], James Murphy [Ben], Adam Scarimbolo [Brent], Eric Wareheim [Van Arman], Jeffrey Jensen [Cargill], Will Sheff [Will]
  • Directed by: Rick Alverson [Director], Rick Alverson [Screenwriter], Robert Donne [Screenwriter], Colm O'Leary [Screenwriter], Jonathan Cargill [Executive Producer], Brent Kunkle [Producer], Mike S. Ryan [Producer], Mark Schwartzbard [Cinematographer], Michael Taylor [Film Editor], Harley Kaplan [Casting], Brandon Powers [Casting], Shawn Annabel [Production Design], Emily Kaplan [Art Director]
  • Watch the trailer
 

Show Times

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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