From Merve Emre at the Los Angeles Review of Books:
FOR MANY INDEPENDENT FILMMAKERS today, “Most Walked-Out Film at Sundance 2012” is a perverse badge of honor, and Rick Alverson’s deceptively titled The Comedy wears it with pride. That much seems clear from the film’s opening shot: a slow-mo wrestling match between two fat, drunk, and nearly naked men, wheezy 30-somethings whose unlovely flesh swells and falls in time to Donnie and Joe Emerson’s soulful 1979 hit “Baby.” Unlike the sweet young things that Donnie and Joe croon about in the background, Alverson’s wrestlers are terrible to behold. They slap each other’s fat asses and even fatter bellies and watch, transfixed, as their bodies jiggle under the camera’s sepia watch. They spit beer on one another’s backs, and gape as unnaturally sharp colors reflect off their own spittle. Silently, they howl. Maybe they laugh, but who can tell, really? The scene closes with the camera on Alverson’s leading man Tim Heidecker — one half of the cult comedy team known as “Tim and Eric” — who has tucked his penis in between his legs off-screen. Mangina thus secured, Heidecker executes an expressive arm-flap worthy of any preening ballerina, and for a brief moment, he is lit as radiantly as any wispy black swan wannabe could ever hope to be.
According to reports from Sundance 2012, it was about this time that audience members began fleeing the theater in angry, muttering droves.
This review is, in no small part, a defense of The Comedy… Continue Reading