15 Smart Moments In 'Dumb' Comedies
The point of a comedy movie is to make us laugh for a solid 90 minutes. Plot, character development, occasional secret brilliance—those are all nice to have, but the bare minimum is some laughs. If we call a comedy “a dumb comedy,” it's a shield against criticism: “hey all this is for the laughs, you know?” But sometimes, there are moments of sublime tucked away in the most silly of pop culture creations:
Orange County and What A Writer Needs
A dumb comedy about a guy trying to get to a smarter place (Stanford), Orange County is actually a great lesson on what makes interesting writing. Colin Hanks's Shaun is so convinced he needs to study with Kevin Kline's Marcus Skinner to become a writer that he doesn't realize until the end that all he needs are the people who inspire him. Skinner says Shaun already has a good book, while specifically pointing out his love for the characters shines.
Austin Powers Understands Consent
Even the horniest amongst us understands being too intoxicated to consent. Nine years before Tarana Burke said #MeToo and 20 years before it became a movement, Austin Powers understood consent.
Out Cold: “Guys On Oil Rigs Get Laid A Lot, Right?”
Facing expulsion from the only snowboarding mountain they've ever known, the gang from Out Cold mulls career opportunities. “Guys on oil rigs get laid a lot, right?” Pigpen asks. Luke replies (we're paraphrasing here), “the demands of capitalism and the extraction of non-renewable resources shall break our bodies and destroy the planet, denying us even the most basic of carnal pleasures in the name of Exxon-Mobil's profit margin. So yeah, they get laid a lot."
Anchorman 2 and the 24-Hour News Cycle
Everything that addles 21st century political discourse, right here, in a movie you ungrateful jerks called “not as good as the original.” The vagina bit even recalls John Fetterman's congressional opponent.
Semi-Pro and Knowing Your Role
One of the greatest “comedy in the costume design” scenes ever features an important lesson on how one person cannot do it all, that everyone benefits when everyone's talents are maximized.
Knocked Up: “Isn't That Just Mr. Skin?”
The entire premise of Knocked Up is figuring out how to grow up and function in the world. It isn't “Seth Rogen is so gross and smokes weed, how will he ever be a father?” It's “can Seth and idiot his friends ever figure out how to actually function in the world.” To that end, having their whole passion project already exist as a well-established brand is a brilliant underscoring of exactly how navel-gazey these slovenly losers are.
Zoolander Predicts Yeezy Unhoused Szn
No joke here, reality is the best satire. For real though, the fashion industry does love income inequality. Even the most well-meaning statements ring hollow.
Eurotrip: “Europe's the size of the Eastwood Mall, we can walk to Berlin”
It gave us “Scotty Doesn't Know” and “The Manchester United Song," and the rest of the movie is best left forgotten. But one line sticks out, when Cooper proposes walking from London to Berlin because “Europe's like the size of the Eastwood Mall.” Obviously ridiculous, but Cooper hits on something really important as humanity tries to combat climate change—making cities more walkable. Tourlane.com's Top 10 most walkable cities are all European. The U.S. and other countries could take note.
Half-Baked Predicts the Great Resignation
If you saw the “F— you, f— you, f— you, you're cool, f— you” scene and were confused by The Great Resignation, we really don't know what to say to you. Support workers and be nice to service industry workers especially.
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure And The Obvious Connection Between Classical and Metal
Of course Beethoven would enjoy Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet, we're only surprised by how relatively tame his selection is. Imagine showing Beethoven Apocalyptica or flamenco guitarist Robert Svärd covering Polyphia's “GOAT?” Ol' Ludwig Von would be so happy.
Step Brothers: Never Lose Your Dinosaur
It kills us to see y'all so crushed and normal. Embrace your inner weirdo, it's the only way to live.
21 Jump Street and How Cops Act
“Get ready for a lifetime of being badass motherf—ers,” they say at police academy graduation. Smash cut to milling around a park, berating people who genuinely need help getting their frisbee, juggling loaded guns, harassing peaceful pot smokers, totally bungling the arrest when things turn serious because they're unprepared idiots, then getting essentially a promotion? Maybe the most accurate depiction of cops ever put on film.
Dodgeball and The Importance of Self-Acceptance In Fitness
In an age where Instagram is constantly making us all feel bad about our bodies, maybe it's a good time to watch Peter LaFleur tell us it's okay to be ourselves and still go to the gym.
Bruce Campbell vs. The Army of Darkness And The Importance of Being Clear
Grammar and spelling have never been as set in stone as some people think it is, but the age of the internet/text messaging/emojis has thrown another wrench into our communication abilities. Not all of this is bad—language is an evolving thing—but you still need to make sure people understand you. Especially if you are attempting to retrieve the necronomicon from an unholy place.
Pop Star and The Joy Of Making Music With Your Friends
Pop star is the story of a pop star who never stops never stopping until he completely alienates his best friends. Anyone who was in a band in high school but now toils away in
a cubicle sorry an open floor office sorry at a work-issued computer set up in their bedroom got weepy at the scene when the dudes get back together. Making music with your friends is one of the great joys in life, something we would do well to value more as a society.
Chris Corlew is frequently stupid but sometimes smart on Twitter.