Tag Archives: situational comedy

The Parole Officer: A Coogan-y Film

I must admit I was excited to see Steve Coogan’s face on the cover of this movie on my Netflix. 2001 is a bit iffy for comedies for me (I’m a 200 and late… -r), but this one did the job for the most part. Steve Coogan wasn’t at top form (a bit of a problem) but I got through it all the same. The first scene was promising, but you can only be so outrageous before nobody watches your movies…

The story of The Parole Officer is a pretty straightforward one. Steve Coogan plays Simon Garden, and awkward and sad probation worker (confusing movie title, I

All too true…

know…). He is being transferred to another city (Manchester, I believe) and he’s going to be attempting to correct those sorry crooks that litter the streets of England. What he stumbles upon is something a bit more intense. A fellow officer in crime prevention, Inspector Burton (Stephen Dillane), commits a murder that is caught on security camera. Holding the evidence in his possession, Burton the crooked cop is planning on framing Garden if he tattles. Not wanting this being held over his head, Garden employs the help of the only four former criminals he corrected in robbing a bank with the tape inside. Oh, the comedic irony.

The most awkward place for Coogan? Strip club.

It’s pretty cut and dry from there. The movie has some of Coogan’s own brand of awkward comedy, but not enough to make it a signature film of his. (I’d say Hamlet 2 is more his style.) You get an awkward sense of Alan Partridge, but it comes up short of expectations. The acting is fine and the movie is dated, which always makes it a bit hard for me to watch. But overall, think Johnny English with dry comedy instead of slapstick. You got this film right there.

There are a couple of great little parts other than the versus mode of Coogan/Dillane. There’s Ben Miller as Colin, one of Garden’s former clients. Being Rowan Atkinson’s sidekick in Johnny English, it was a nice change to see him delivering comedy more than being the straight actor taking it all in. There’s Lena Headey as a watered down version of the strong British actress she will one day become in things like 300 and Game of Thrones. Not the most adequate of cops, it

Team of crack cons, assemble!

always gets weird whenever Coogan lays his puffy lips on a love interest in a movie. And then there’s a non-speaking cameo from Simon Pegg in the art gallery scene. I had no idea what to expect there. But worth a laugh.

The bank heist is a little above my understanding with some strange technology lingo and complicated means of infiltration, leaving part of the movie as bland. The back and forth between the cons was fine, although overall it lacked a certain star quality for me that would’ve

Aha! I’m Simon Garden.

sent the jokes home better. It really was an all eyes on Coogan film for me. Throw in some slapstick/situational comedy towards the end (and a break-in scene reminiscent of The Dark Knight) and you have yourself a throwback to the 1950’s heist movies. Not a bad roll into one.

Not one of my favorites, but not the worst Coogan attached film I’ve seen. I still feel like one of my only friends who actually recognized/knew Coogan in Tropic Thunder, something that saddens me to this very day. But it’s not about notoriety or popularity. There are those of us out there who salute Steve Coogan for his amazing contribution to the world of comedy. He deserves a ranking up there with Ricky Gervais, Matt Lucas/David Walliams, and even Monty Python. Can’t get enough of those Brits. For this, I give The Parole Officer a 6.8 out of 10.

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Come Fly With Me: Walliams and Lucas, At It Again

I am a huge fan of Matt Lucas and David Walliams’ hit British comedy, Little Britain. Their sketches and the characters/situations they create are groundbreaking and traditional all at once. They take the old British gag of dressing up as women and take it to the next level. They know no boundaries of race, religion, or moral. They will make you feel uncomfortable, all the while laughing at their zany antics.

And now, they bring you a new show. New characters, a new setting, but the same old tricks. It’s not necessarily overdone because we’ve seen

Taaj, keeping it fresh with the biatches.

the same style before, but they keep it fresh, just by being themselves. This time around, Matt Lucas and David Walliams are a variety of characters, all centered around an airport. In this mockumentary, entitled Come Fly With Me, Lucas and Walliams keep their fans happy with a brand new hilarious show.

Praise to the Lord they will not sue!

And what a show it is. With talking-head interviews supplementing situational comedy throughout the airport, Lucas and Walliams play over 30 characters in a feat I haven’t seen on Television comedies before. Every character feels unique and everyone can choose their own personal favorite. With the makeup being so well done, you may not even recognize Matt Lucas some of the times if you are just a casual watcher of the show.

But there is a problem people have with the program. They say it’s racist. And yes, I can admit to laughing hysterically every time Matt Lucas plays Precious, the coffee store worker. (It’s an inside joke about the name and personality, but it comes across as funny all the same.) Or, even the

All in a day’s work for Matt Lucas.

Japanese fangirls… But that’s not the point. I think this show proves that airports, despite racist characters like Ian Foot (Walliams), the airport head of security and customs, an airport is a place of a widening array of people. Unlike America, the “true” melting pot of all nationalities, an airport such as this one does have people from all over the world flying from all other places. It is a unifying experience, known simply as “flying”. Even Lucas and Walliams recognized that themselves when Moses (Walliams) approaches a Chinese man as the airport liason, and, saying, “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?”, he surprises himself with the Chinese man responding in German. And, despite all that, they show embraces and pokes fun at the homosexual community, Matt Lucas being a proud member of that group. So how could a show that pushes all the limits not go on doing so? Come on…

How much do you love Disney World?

Despite racist allegations and shots at the show’s ego in spite of being after Little Britain’s success, I’m damn proud of Lucas and Walliams getting back out there and doing more comedy. I missed them immensely and was just looking for another show to fill the hole in my comedic heart. This show did it (with the help of Snuff Box).

So set aside your politically correct mind for 6 episodes and sit back and relax and allow yourself to giggle at the occasional profanity or stereotype. I promise, when all’s said and done, you won’t be a

Get a load of that…

redneck. Or whatever you fear you may become. This show lightly grazes over a topic I didn’t know you could go over for 6 episodes for. Flying and airports. Hating the experience of flying itself, I felt this show handled a bunch of jokes that comedians have been pondering for years. “Why is airline food so bad…” And why is this show so good? 9.5 out of 10.


Arrested Development: The Show that Should Never Have Been Cancelled

But really. More please.

So by now I expect this show to be well known despite its cancellation. Arrested Development, one of the best shows on television from 2003-2006, was (and is) one of my favorite shows. I recently re-watched this and thought it would be good to give it a review it deserves despite its cancellation. I know nobody really gives this show bad reviews, but I just wanted to buffer reviews that already gave this show an amazing name. With the rumors (or preparations) for a movie to be released in 2012 (if we all make it) I think this would be the perfect time to talk about Arrested Development.

Now, Ron Howard, the executive producer and narrator of this show, is pretty well known if you don’t

Ron Howard. Thank you.

already know. And he’s quite great. (Some of my favorite films, A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man, are Ron Howard creations. Even the Dan Brown novels-films are quite great.) This combined with Mitchell Hurwitz,’s writing, (writer of such comedies as Golden Girls and The John Larroquette Show) makes for one of the best shows to ever grace television. Both of these guys, combined with the amazingly comedic acting talents of the main cast, leaves me laughing every time I watch any of the three seasons.

So, basic plot. Michael Bluth, the middle of 3 sons of the Bluth family, has to take over for his father’s business. The reason? His father has committed a number of felonies that have placed him in prison, awaiting trial. This structures the basis of the show. The rest of the show? The Bluth family. You have Gob, the failure, incompetent magician, kicked out of his own magical order. Lindsey Bluth, Michael’s twin sister and fair-weather activist. Buster Bluth, the momma’s boy younger brother and complete baby. Along with these are Tobias Funke, the failed therapist and husband of Lindsey. Their child Maebe, is the rebellious wild child. And Michael’s son George Michael has a thing for her. But don’t worry, he’s a goody two shoes, and he’d never step out of line. But everyone steps out of line once in a while. And that’s where the humor comes from. The unabashed comedy that flows from every character, every pun, every situation, and every ironic event.

Best cast. Ever.

And who delivers these genius lines? One of the best casts out there. First, you have Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth, the main focus of the show and the one holding the family together. Bateman’s cynical nature and pessimistic attitude stands in contrast to every other character and their lack of ethical and hard working spirit. Then there’s Portia de Rossi, Michael’s twin Lindsey. She’s the lazy good for nothing who brings the ditzy activist role to life. She literally understands nothing. And she’s great. It makes it funny that her and Tobias’s relationship really doesn’t work because she’s really a lesbian in real life. And her and Tobias never do it. Ironic, huh? Perfect fit though. There’s Will Arnett as Gob, my

Gob (Will Arnett) . Genius

favorite character. He’s the most offensive, hilarious, and unabashedly direct character who loves women, one-upping his brother, and performing magic to the “Final Countdown.” Michael Cera plays Michael’s son, George Michael. (Funny name, huh?) This show functioned as Michael Cera’s jumping off point for more work, but he’s never really done anything as good as Arrested Development. Alia Shawkat plays Maebe, George Michael’s forbidden love and cousin. She is one of the more grown up members of the family but always reverts back to her childishly rebellious state. Tony Hale plays Buster Bluth, the baby of the family. He’s great as one of the stranger characters and really plays the part so well. David Cross plays Tobias Funke, the failed therapist that seems gay and is a never-nude (Check that bit of news out, why don’t you.). Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter fill out the family as George and Lucille Bluth, the parents and more dysfunctional family members than most. With their controlling natures and absurd sex drives, these two really bring out where their children’s bad behavior came from.

And that’s really about all there is that needs to be said about this show. This is what makes it good. With great writing and comedic elements, a great producer/narrator, and an amazing cast, what more do you need? These actors have all made names for themselves from this and other shows, and have gone on to do more than just comedy. I could watch this show over and over again. Although you may need to buy the seasons, their well worth their $25 a piece. Check them out. 10 out of 10.

And here’s the best of Tobias. Thank you David Cross for one of the greatest characters of all time.