Category Archives: Comedy

“Palm Springs” a Giddy Comedy Surprise

It’s a merry, merry multiverse for a trio trapped in a time loop in Max Barbakow’s Palm Springs (B+). This comedy with shades of Groundhog Day triples the number of people caught in the act of living the same day over and over with Andy Samberg and Christin Milioti as two charming strangers who meet at a wedding and J.K. Simmons as a grizzled guest also swept up in the space time continuum. The story eschews some of the tedium of repeating the actual day verbatim and instead follows its progressive romance from mundane to memorable. The first-time director has crafted a jovial and thoughtful lark with enjoyable takes on the physics of love and life. The ensemble is roundly delightful on the unusual journey. Stick around for a mid-credits epilogue. 

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” Often Hilarious

Now on Netflix, this comedy scores a bravura B-.

Will the winner take it all or the loser stand small in the summer’s new cult comedy? David Dobkin’s featherweight and overlong Eurovision (B-) stars Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as an earnest Icelandic pop music duo in a quixotic quest for the coveted championship in the iconic global song contest. Much of the film is formulaic with slogs which threaten to derail its kitschiest instincts. Ferrell, who also co-wrote the film, is basically funny just for showing up with long hair and a European accent, but the plucky McAdams is really the heart of the proceedings giving a lively and sensitive star turn. Dan Stevens is also enjoyable as a charismatic competitor in rhythm and romance, and Pierce Brosnan gets a nice bit as Ferrell’s fisherman father. The film’s stealth signature turns out to be its garish production numbers and surprisingly hummable original songs including “Volcano Man” and “Double Trouble.” There’s also a mega mix midway that helps perk things up just when the screenplay of the American idylls. It’s easy to forget moments that misfire when the overall tone is so blissful. 

Père Noël is a Ne’er-do-well in “Bad Santa”

Père Noël is a ne’er-do-well in Terry Swigoff’s hilarious dark comedy Bad Santa (B+) in which Billy Bob Thornton plays the titular patron saint of the holidays as a drunk, foul-mouthed scoundrel and thief using his department store appearances as a front for his crimes. Lauren Graham, Tony Cox, John Ritter and Bernie Mac are among a winning ensemble trying to find the Merry in this Father Christmas. Swigoff balances physical comedy and wit to pull off his delicate comedy. It’s an outrageous and laugh-out-loud funny experience for those seeking an irreverent and ultimately heartwarming take on finding the diamond in a lump of coal.