Adam DeVine Says Superhero Movies Killed Comedies

Adam DeVine Says Superhero Movies Killed Comedies

Hey, Adam DeVine, we’re also bummed about the decline of the big-screen comedy. We had high hopes for Joy Ride last week, but $5.6 million on opening weekend isn’t going to reignite the funny fires at the big studios. We have our own hypotheses about why comedies have fallen out of favor, but we’ll admit that we’ve never considered a theory that DeVine shared with Theo Von this week: Marvel ruined comedy.

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While fellow hero-haters Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese would likely agree, we’re not sure what Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has to do with whether or not people are lining up for No Hard Feelings. So we’ll let DeVine explain: “Superhero movies kind of ruined comedies because people go to the theater and you expect to watch something that costs $200 million to make. And comedy movies aren’t that.”

By DeVine’s reckoning, moviegoers are asking why they should spend money to see a little comedy in the theater if, for the same price, they could see a flick with crazy special effects. Plus, Marvel makes its movies “kind of funny,” argues DeVine, even if they’re not true comedies. “They’re like, Oh my God, is that raccoon talking? This is hilarious!’”

Pardon me if I don’t think that DeVine’s theory makes much sense. Marvel heroes don’t get much bigger than the ol’ webslinger and Spider-Man 2 made huge dollars in 2004. But somehow movie fans that year swarmed theaters for Shrek 2 (that year’s biggest movie), Meet the Fockers, 50 First Dates, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Starsky and Hutch, Mean Girls, Along Came Polly and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. There’s barely a special effect in the bunch unless you’re counting Will Ferrell’s hair, so it’s almost as if audiences were going to laugh instead of watching guys fly around in metal suits. 

One other hole in DeVine’s theory: Big-budget comedies with lots of special effects generally bomb. Most comedy fans have a favorite Adam Sandler film — think any of them are choosing Pixels? Monster effects couldn’t save either of the recent Ghostbusters reboots. And Evan Almighty spent $175 million on digital creatures, only to deliver a comedy failure. 

Unfortunately, the real problem might be recent comedy movies just aren’t that funny. DeVine is out there promoting The Out-Laws, his new comedy on Netflix that might have had a theatrical release in another day. But would it have performed any better than Joy Ride (which actually got good reviews)? The Guardian calls Out-Laws “limp,” Variety says it “misses its target” and IMDb laments that the movie is “bogged down by lazy writing and jokes.”

Blaming big bad Marvel is tempting. But maybe conquering the comedy universe is as simple as making funnier movies. 

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