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Wick's Review

Created Jun 21, 2019 03:59AM PST • Edited Jun 26, 2019 12:40AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Very Good 3.5

    Consider A Futile and Stupid Gesture the theatrical companion to Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon. Will Forte plays comedy genius Doug Kenney in Futile and Stupid Gesture, whereas archival footage of the lunatic real McCoy was used in DSBD, an rFactor 1 documentary.

    A Futile and Stupid Gesture is therefore more entertaining in a voyeuristic way. It shows the cocaine and groupies, yet few bare boobs, proving that things have changed since Kenney & Co made Animal House.

    This is all intensely interesting to comedy nerds of a certain age, “well-to-do nobodies”, as Lampoon fanboys were described back in the day. Kenney & Henry Beard, his high brow editorial partner, were perverted geniuses at tickling the funny-bone. “Buy this magazine or we’ll kill this dog,” made them stars.

    In hindsight, Kenney’s comedy was amoral adolescent white male humor. Brilliant, but amoral adolescent white male humor nonetheless. Their’s was the comedy of the comfortable who fetishize their discomfort.

    Still, funny is funny and Kenney was the King of Comedy. His and Beard’s Lampoon was the fountainhead of SNL, Animal House, Letterman & the rest of late night, plus countless hard-R sex comedies since.

    Who says you can’t go home again? Other than the dead guy at the bottom of a cliff. He’s not talking.

  3. Very Good 3.5

    Doug Kenney is played at three ages by four actors. Martin Mull opens and returns as Oldman Kenney, if he’d lived till 2018 instead of 1980. Frank & Morgan Gingerich play Douglas Kenney as a boy. Will Forte handles the main parts, from the Harvard Lampoon to the National Lampoon to Animal House to the end in Kaui. Forte gets Kenney just right: an impish genius who is playfully subversive and often self-destructive.

    Domhnall Gleeson disappears into Henry Beard, an enigmatic genius, a blue-blood and Kenney’s intellectual partner. The British Gleeson comes across in every way and utterance as an American patrician.

    The other (male) actors are barely OK, a reality that Martin Mull jokes about. Of course they’re playing major stars and legends like Bill Murray, P.J. O’Rourke, John Belushi, Harold Ramis, Chris Guest & Chris Miller. It was Miller’s fraternity experience at Dartmouth that led he and Kenney to write Animal House.

    Annette O’Toole & the stunning Emmy Rossum are the best actors in the company, the former as Doug Kenney’s long suffering mother and the latter as his ultimately suffering wife. Rossum jumps offscreen.

  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Very Good 3.5
  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5
  7. Male Costars Barely OK 2.0
  8. Very Good 3.5
  9. Direction Very Good 3.5
  10. Play Great 4.0
  11. Music Very Good 3.5
  12. Visuals Great 4.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.2
  15. Sex Titillating 2.4
  16. Violence Gentle 1.3
  17. Rudeness Profane 3.0
  18. Glib 1.3

    The timeline has apparently been heartily played with, hence the 180% CircoReality score.

    Hollywood tricks aside, here are several movies related to this one.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.8
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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