The Comedy - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Comedy Reviews

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½ January 13, 2014
A Uniquely Funny Film that pokes shit at wealthy hipster maggots for 94 minutes. The film is Thoroughly Different but also Thoroughly Enjoyable.
January 6, 2014
I can see why this film gets the reaction it does; everything about it is designed to make you feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, I think it serves this film well. That's because, at the core, this movie is a dissection of the hipster mindset. It depicts the results of a life philosophy that puts itself above hard work or meaningful contribution to society.
½ November 6, 2013
Not all that funny or arty humorous.
October 21, 2013
Fantastic performance by Heidecker in a film that seems to hold a mirror up to this bleak and depressing generation.
½ October 20, 2013
I lasted about 10 minutes waiting for the fun to start. Thank goodness I didn't waste my time watching the rest of this.
½ October 17, 2013
The things that pass for character studies these days. I don't really get what they were going for with the title, some sort of hipster irony because the movie is devoid of any laughs whatsoever, or just going for a cute straightforward thing because they actually thought it was funny, but either way the movie is not good. Sometimes when I watch a movie I find myself thinking, "did they actually have a complete screenplay when they went into production? Was this an idea ANY of them were actually passionate about, or were they just anxious to make a movie and jumped on the first idea they had?" This was one of those times.
September 29, 2013
Insufferably boring and pointless
September 14, 2013
like Old Joy, but with more scatalogical references. nobody seems to like this movie at all, but I say its worth a watch.
August 30, 2013
Profound but overlong art film about hipsters. The message of the comedy is easy to see after 10 minutes and does little more than repeat itself for the rest of it's runtime. But that message is an important one about the nature of comedy, examining humor to the point that it disturbs and haunts the viewer especially if they can identify with it.
August 29, 2013
The only reason to watch this is Tim and Eric
August 6, 2013
A slow, boring, and just overall bad movie. There is hardly a story to it whatsoever and just consists mostly of Tim Heidecker walking around saying really unfunny, immature jokes. I understand that he is supposed to be a hipster, but he doesn't come off as that at all. He comes off as an annoying, unfunny drunk who has nothing better to do then tell really unfunny jokes. It has little plot development and really bored me throughout the entire thing.
July 30, 2013
I love this movie. Its disgustingly honest portrayal of an aging hipster who's full of self-loathing is very refreshing. The first time I watched it, I found some of the scenes too off-putting, but therein lies one of the main points: There are people out there who are like this, and people who have to deal with them from day to day. I see more of the real tragedy in this character every time I watch it. A brilliantly, brutally fresh film.
July 28, 2013
Brutal. Hard to watch at times. Also hugely depressing. Not quite sure what to think of it. Love Heidecker and Wareheim so was intrigued by this change of pace.
July 24, 2013
When you joke enough, you become the joke.
July 22, 2013
A pitch-black character study of a despicable, mean-spirited Brooklyn hipster that's as fascinating as it is revolting to watch. No, it's not a comedy, but it's extremely compelling.
July 20, 2013
Seems aimless, but I think it's a pretty interesting commentary. Worth the time - delves into the very disturbing.
½ July 11, 2013
A provocative look at the lives of post young adult hooligans. Beautiful and succinct.
July 6, 2013
Oftentimes boring and meandering, but with a flashes of genius. Reminds me of "Love Liza" or maybe "Lost in Translation" in some ways. The story follows an aging hipster in his pointless life around Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
July 4, 2013
The theme here is comedy and obnoxious sarcasm as a defense against malaise and a way of avoiding letting one's real feelings be known. It's an uncomfortable movie because the cause of Swanson's turmoil is unclear. If anything, the film seems like a mean-spirited attempt to show the sickness under the surface in the lives of young ironic/sarcastic hipster types.
½ June 30, 2013
"The Comedy" is not a comedy. Instead, it's an incredibly scathing indictment of ironic detachment. This is a truly nasty piece of transgressive cinema, partly an act of antagonism toward its audience. I don't think I've ever seen a film that hates its central character so much, yet it still asks us to stay with him for every single assaultive minute. We follow Swanson on his aimless adventures in cruelty, be it towards minorities, women, his family, and we have one question: what does it all mean? What exactly is "The Comedy" trying to say? I'm not here to tell you that I know, exactly, but I had a visceral reaction to this film. Swanson's inability to connect or truly interact with the people around him doesn't trigger anything close to sympathy, but rather, recognition. Perhaps the fact that I saw aspects of this character in myself made the experience of watching this film more disquieting.

The film is essentially one long string of intentionally cringe-worthy encounters in which Swanson uses his asshole veneer to separate himself from emotional attachment while still harboring a hidden desire to connect, as is hinted at in later scenes. Part of what makes "The Comedy" so thorny is that it has genuinely funny moments during which Swanson and company's assholedom is crystal clear, but we laugh anyway because, well, what they're saying is kind of funny. "The Comedy"'s propensity to sometimes make us laugh with the film's characters adds a level of audience complicitness that feels icky. A Nick Nolte impression towards the end of the film had me in absolute stitches. Tellingly though, it comes seconds before the film's most disturbing moment, where Swanson's pitiful lack of humanity is on full display.

I think "The Comedy" might have been made a more sympathetic case had Swanson's desire to change been more clear, but maybe the point is that his first 35 years of relentless entitlement has rendered him so emotionally stunted that such a fundamental change doesn't seem within his grasp. Tim Heidecker is surprisingly great here. I honestly think he gives a perfect performance in this film. Performance -wise, this movie doesn't hit a wrong note at all, actually. There are some surprising supporting players here, including LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and Gregg Turkington (a.k.a. Neil Hamburger).

Judging from many of the responses to I've read to "The Comedy", I think some people are making some critical mistakes in viewing this film. Firstly, they 're expecting it to be a comedy. Though it is sometimes (problematically) funny, it most certainly is not a comedy. The title of the film is both a supreme act of trolling and a framework through which to view Swanson's behavior. If you're waiting for a barrel of laughs, it's not gonna come. Sorry, "Tim & Eric" fans. Secondly, they're making the mistake of believing that director Rick Alverson actually sympathizes with Swanson. Quite the contrary; he hates Swanson, and uses him as a stand-in for lazy, entitled, ironic douchebags everywhere. In case you didn't get the point, Swanson is from Williamsburg.

So why am I liking, not loving, "The Comedy"? I think it has mostly to do with fatigue. By the end of the movie I was pretty numb to Swanson and the film's overall tonal monotony. The film is only 94 minutes long, but I honestly felt like there were still scenes that could have been cut. I feel like the film would have been more powerful had the pity-to-hatred ratio been a bit higher with respect to its central character. I also found the use of William Basinski's 9/11-inspired "The Disintegration Loops" to be kind of heavy-handed here, to nitpick a little bit. Still, though "The Comedy" will doubtlessly repel many people, it is a unique experience that I found particularly thought-provoking.
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