Last week, the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Chicago premiered Year One at the Music Box Theatre, complete with a miniature red carpet rolled out for director Harold Ramis who was receiving a lifetime achievement award for this work as an actor, writer, and director of comedy. The audience was filled with fans who cheered generously during the introductory montage film, and Ramis himself accepted it quite graciously, humbled by the hometown love, which was nice to see. So with a soft spot for Jack Black, Michael Cera, and Egon from Ghostbusters, I went into Year One with a very generous heart. Here is the preview:
The trailer could also be a short film called "The Funniest Parts of Year One." And that trailer is not that funny. It is, at least, not offensive, as it doesn't show us any of the horrible scenes with Oliver Platt, playing an effeminate, evil gay High Priest of -- wait for it -- Sodom, drenched in gaudy gold fabric and blue eyeshadow -- blue eyeshadow!! That is the most egregiously hateful characterization -- none of us who DO wear makeup would ever make such gauche choices. And then it gets worse when the gag is him sexually harassing Michael Cera by forcing him to rub oil on his prosthetically hairy chest. Ugh. The Hangover was offensive in many parts too, but at least it was occasionally funny. The best part of Year One is that it reminds you how good Monty Python or even Mel Brooks can be. Skip this movie, take Ramis's award back, and if you see Oliver Platt on the street, shoot him a very dirty look.
-- A. RAYMOND JOHNSON
Previously > Man (and cloned man) on the Moon