COMEDIA 2004

From July 15 to the 25th, Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival will present the 8th edition of its cinematic portion, Comedia. Once again it will showcase a bunch of hilarious and twisted movies, often presented by the filmmakers and stars.

Bobcat Goldthwait will be in town with both “Windy City Heat”, a satire of reality television, and “When Stand Up Stood Out”, a documentary about Boston’s 1980s comedy scene.

Pauly Shore comes back from the grave to present “Pauly Shore is Dead: You’ll Never Wiez in this Town Again”.

French comedian Franck Dubosc and director Marie Anne Chazel will introduce “Au secours, j’ai 30 ans”, a comedy about romantic misadventures.

Michaël Youn and Dieudonné will be there to unleash “Les 11 commandements”, France’s answer to “Jackass”.

And none other than bare-ass thespian Ron Jeremy will be host a screening of “Being Ron Jeremy”!

Also part of the line-up is the Canadian premiere of the stoner comedy “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle”, mockumentary “The Delicate Art of Parking”, two new broadcasts of “The Other Network” (which screens un-aired TV pilots), the 25th anniversary re-release of “Monty Python’s The Life of Brian”, a Pierre Richard retrospective, numerous programs of shorts and a whole week-end of cheesy 3-D flicks!

For more information on the films and the festival, you can visit hahaha.com

REVIEWS!

Ciné-lounge (07/16)
[ The idea of a night of short films with a bar to keep everyone going is pretty good, and host Guy Nantel was funny enough (if a bit heavy on the anti-Semitic jokes). The problem was in the selection of films. It was great to have local filmmakers present such hilarious pieces as “Oussama and the Axis of Evil Band” (flash animation of bin Laden, Saddam, Bush, etc. singing Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It) or “Doux rendez-vous” (a delightful slice of absurdity in which a dude’s date is ruined by the girl’s weirdo brother), but the evening lost momentum when it showed France imports, even when they were amusing. I’d rather watch a so-so low budget oddity like “Hier encore j’avais 4 ans d’âge mental” (which features my babelicious ex Delphine Brodeur!) or “Imagier en action” (a mockumentary from Dead Cat Films) than more polished but kinda dull and impersonal things like “Kaamelot”, “Le bon, la brute et les zombies” or Stéphane Rousseau and Frank Dubosc’s dimwitted spoofs of “Apollo 13” and “Deliverance”. And then there’s “Token”, which suuuuucked so much and was so long, slow and unfunny that half the audience left. Damn you bread-eating losers in yellow plush suits! ]

Going the Distance 23
[ From the director of “Beethoven’s 5th” (not the symphony, the big dog flick) comes this sex comedy about a dude who has 6 days to get to the MuchMusic Video Awards so he can propose to his girlfriend before she falls prey to the oversexed record producer (Jason Priestley!) with whom she’s interning for the summer. Thus begins his Winnebago road trip across Canada, with two of his idiotic buddies and a pair of sexy hitchhikers tagging along for this journey sure to be filled with sex, drugs and wussy punk rock. “Going the Distance” is little more than yet another lowbrow teen movie, except that it’s Canadian so it goes through B.C., the Prairies, Montreal, Toronto and even Newfoundland. It’s also slightly looser with the naughtiness and the boob flashing than its Hollywood counterparts, but that doesn’t make it any less derivative – one of the leads tries so much to be Stifler it’s not even funny. ]

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle 78
[ Harold and Kumar are sons of immigrants who taught them the importance of working hard, getting good grades and appreciating the opportunities offered by America, but what the two young men really want is to get high and get laid. And on the particular night the movie takes place, they also desperately crave White Castle burgers!

The bulk of the flick has them driving, hang gliding and riding a cheetah (!) across New Jersey in search of their fast-food Holy Grail, only to constantly get sidetracked by everything from extreme sports jerks (“Let’s go get some Mountain Dew!!!”), racist cops, wild animals, a freaky-looking Jesus freak and even Neil Patrick Harris (playing himself).

The movie is full of absurd scenes (the marijuana love montage has to be seen to be believed) and amusing cameos (Anthony Anderson, Jamie Kennedy, Fred Willard…), but what truly sets it apart is its two leads. John Cho and Kal Penn make a great comic pair as the title characters, as endearing as they are hilarious. Cho’s Harold is kind of the straight man, shy and reluctant to go crazy, while Penn is an utterly out of control foul-mouthed maniac. The same movie could have been made as “David and Jason Go to McDonald’s”, but the fact that the filmmakers dared to go for racial diversity is damn cool.

Says director Danny Leiner (who also gave the world “Dude, Where’s My Car?”):
“We’re dealing with how perceptions of people are based on racial stereotypes. The movie both undercuts that and makes jokes about it at the same time, which to me, is the best way of dispelling myths about stereotypes and prejudice.”

Most importantly, “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” is embarrassingly entertaining and made me laugh loud and often as much if not more than any other movie I’ve seen this year.

“This is either a really smart move or the stupidest thing we’ve ever done.” ]

Les 11 commandements 29
[ Michaël Youn and his band of “conards” are hired by the God of Jokes (Dieudonné) to turn the world’s frown upside down by going through a series of silly challenges. So our merry pranksters are off to make fools of themselves, taking sleeping pills then going roller-skating, going to the beach in Speedos while sporting Viagra-enhanced erections, turning a house into a pool, unleashing farm animals in a hotel, blocking traffic for an impromptu hard rock concert, picking on cops until they get arrested… This is basically a French “Jackass” and, like its American counterpart, it’s pretty hit and miss. It’s such a fine line between clever and stupid, and “Les 11 commandements” is most often stupid, but it is kinda amusing anyway. ]