What’s the Problem?

So, I have just this minute arrived home after a trip to my local ‘Odeon’ to see the new American comedy 21 Jump Street. I will summarise my thoughts quickly. I found this film adaptation, of the 1980s-1990’s TV show, extremely funny. I was shocked and impressed with Channing Tatum’s comedic talent and I felt that Tatum and Hill (Jonah) balanced each other well, forming hilarious lead characters in this easy going ‘high-school set’ stoner comedy. The film was slightly too long and could have been shortened by about twenty minutes. Other than this, I found little of this film offensive or tedious.

Here is my question:
Why do I have such a problem with the stoner comedy sub-genre?
Or at least the stoner comedy revival that has occurred over the last decade. In all fairness, 21 Jump Street is not strictly a stoner comedy. Drugs play a main theme within the film, but not necessarily cannabis. Perhaps it should be described as more of a gross-out comedy. Either way, watching the film got me thinking about such genres and films and why I detest them so passionately. 21 Jump Street is not incredible. It was entertaining and enjoyable. Usually, if I find such films bearable then I am surprised. Usually, I walk out of cinema screens, or my local ‘Blockbuster’, with a vile taste in my mouth and a feeling of great sorrow for the comedy genre after sitting through such garbage as Knocked Up.

Films such as Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Superbad (pictured above), make me despair for comedy and the state of it in today’s film industry. Just sitting through the trailer for The Dictator, a film by the sensationally unfunny Sacha Baron Cohen, made me want to suffocate myself in my neighbour’s tub of popcorn. Hearing people around me laughing along at such an offensive and weak script made me feel nothing but despair. Even critically acclaimed gross out movies such as There’s Something About Mary or the first American Pie never entertained me to the extent it did other people. I find them bland, uninteresting and empty. If this is the case, and if I am so repulsed by all theScary Movie sequels and pretty much anything ever staring, or remotely involving, Seth Rogen, then why did I chuckle continuously throughout 21 Jump Street? Why did I find myself indulging in it and caring about the characters on the screen, no matter how many different swear words they projected?

Pineapple Express (2008)

Perhaps it was the film’s intelligent comparisons to high-schools in the 1990s and high schools in the present day. Maybe it was the way that the post-modern teenager was displayed so intelligently. In all honesty, I don’t really know. Perhaps it was the clever and very unexpected cameo. All in all, it was a combination of this film’s developing plot, believable personalities and lack of racial or political prejudice that caused me to commit to this piece of work and forget all of my earlier anxieties towards both gross-out and stoner comedies.

I have learnt something today. I have learnt to be more open, in the future, to certain genres that I have had earlier bad experiences with. So from now on I will be more willing to be dragged to American comedies, whatever sub-genre. I will do my best to be less narrow-minded about such comedies.

That is, unless the film in question is entitled The Hangover III.

Thanks for reading and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry.

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