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3 reviews, 8 user ratings

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Comebacks, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"And You Thought The Cubs Were This Month's Biggest Sports-Related Disaster"
1 stars

From the way they destroyed the careers of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in the 1940's (by placing them in cheap, ramshackle films that never even attempted to take advantage of their unique gifts) to their vile string of “Porky’s” movies in the 1980's to last year’s non-release of Mike Judge’s brilliantly subversive “Idiocracy,” 20th Century Fox has never really been known as a studio that has provide moviegoers with a lot of laughs over the years. However, of all of their collective crimes against the art of humor, I can’t think of any that have been as painfully unfunny and difficult to endure as their recent run of parody movies that consist of nothing more than a barely-connected string of sexist, racist, homophobic and puerile gags that usually consist of someone who looks vaguely like a recognizable character from another, better film walk into the frame and either drops their drawers, breaks wind or gets hit in the bathing suit area (if not all three). Their previous stabs at this formula, “Date Movie” and “Epic Movie,” were among the most wretched films of their respective years–even those predisposed for brain-dead nonsense along these lines were put off by their sheer amateurishness–but those films look like the works of Billy Wilder (granted, I’m talking “The Front Page” and “Fedora,” but still) when compared to their latest effort, “The Comebacks,” a spoof of inspirational sports films that is so egregiously awful that it not only gives a bad name to parody movies, it gives bad names to each of the individual letters used to form the words “parody movies.”

With their propensity towards mawkishness and self-seriousness, you would think that this particular genre would be an especially fertile one for a gifted satirist to lob zings at. Alas, it appears that no one falling under the appellation of “gifted satirist” signed on for this particular project and so it instead consists of a number of scenes that simply replicate moments from well-known sports movies such as “Field of Dreams,” “Varsity Blues,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Stick It,” “Bend It Like Beckham,” “Miracle” and others and then adds a juvenile twist at the end–the drunken dad from “Friday Night Lights” turns out to be a drag queen, the cornfield spirit from “Field of Dreams” has the wrong cornfield, the gymnast from “Stick It” does routines that would make the girls at the Admiral Theater blush and the spunky soccer player from “Bend It Like Beckham” and her pals find their game transformed into a wet T-shirt contest. When they run out of notable moments to mock, they mine material from such tangentially sports-related films as “Bring It On,” “Drumline,” “Radio” and “Dodgeball,” the latter, of course, being a film that was already itself a parody of inspirational sports films. When they run out of those movies, the film is reduced to simply name-checking films and assuming that by doing so, they will at least get partial credit for a joke. Example: a hot surfer babe walks in from nowhere, which is odd enough since the film takes place in Texas, and someone says “Hey, Blue Crush!” And just to make sure that all the bases are fumbled, they even attempt to mock real-life sports figures and events–“Venus Williams” looks like a linebacker, “Maria Sharapova” has her dress fall off in the middle of a serve, “Bill Buckner” (played, depressingly, by the real Bill Buckner) lets another ball go through his legs and there is even a ever-so-dignified gag at the expense of the Duke University Lacrosse Team.

I am fully aware that critiquing a film like “The Comebacks” is an exercise in futility–they are aggressively idiotic by design and meant to be seen only by cretinous 14-year-olds with too much time and money on their hands. In lieu of criticism, I will offer only a couple of observations that came to mind as I watched it unspool in an otherwise empty theater on an otherwise pleasant Sunday afternoon.

1. The films stars David Koechner and Melora Hardin, who presumably shot the film during a hiatus from their recurring roles on the brilliant TV series “The Office.” Presumably during the same break, their co-stars also kept busy–Steve Carell did the reasonably entertaining “Dan In Real Life,” John Krasinski appeared in the eagerly anticipated George Clooney football comedy “Leatherheads,” and Rainn Wilson appeared in the festival favorite “Juno.” Do you suppose that when Koechner and Hardin heard what their co-stars did with their spare time and were then asked what they did, do you think they told the truth or clammed up and claimed to have spent the entire hiatus on the couch?

2. This is one of those comedies where the filmmakers have made the questionable decision to repeat almost every other joke–either they were convinced that every bit of their material was gold (not very likely) or they felt that the potential audience was so dull-witted that they needed to have the jokes repeated so that they might finally get them the second time around (much more likely). I didn’t necessarily mind the repetition of the bit involving a babe wearing a football-shaped bra, mostly because it offered a second glimpse of a babe in a football-shaped bra. I probably could have lived without the repeat of the gag in which a character is suddenly and inexplicably hit by a bus, but I am even willing to give the filmmakers a pass on that one on the assumption that as the film progresses, there is virtually no one involved that you wouldn’t want to toss underneath a bus yourself. However, did we really need an encore of the joke involving Koechner confessing that he has herpes?

3. In all fairness, there was one moment in the film where I found myself sort-of smiling. During the extended string of outtakes at the end, we get a glimpse of what was once presumably a goof on the training sequences from “Rocky” in which Sylvester Stallone beat up on frozen slabs of beef–since the “Bend It Like Beckham” girl is Indian, we see her pounding away on a frozen fish. Not exactly a gut-buster but in a film like this, I’ll take anything I can get. (Amusingly, or not, there is another outtake that suggests that the screenwriters may have been confused about what kind of Indian she was supposed to be–this is also kind of funny, though in a laugh-that-we-may-not-cry way.)

4. “The Comebacks” marks the second directorial effort from Tom Brady and like most sophomore efforts, it is nowhere near as impressive or entertaining as his debut. What is so sad about that is the fact that his debut film was the painfully bad Rob Schneider effort “The Hot Chick.” That film came out five years ago and based on his work here, I think that Brady can pretty much expect to spend the next few years doing what he was clearly born to do–sit on his sofa watching TV while patiently informing irate phone callers representing Team Moynahan that no, they have the wrong Tom Brady.

This week, there are so many uplifting and intelligent ways to spend your time and money. You can go to the movies and see something like “The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford,” “Lars and the Real Girl” or “Gone Baby Gone.” You can go to your local electronics emporium and pick up DVDs of “Days of Heaven,” “Breathless,” “Under the Volcano” or the Stanley Kubrick box set. You can go to iTunes and get a copy of Neil Young’s latest, “Chrome Dreams II,” and rock out to “Ordinary People,” an 18-minute epic rocker that has been a bootleg favorite since he introduced it back in 1988. Hell, you can even stay home and watch the World Series, especially since the filthy and hateful Arizona Diamondbacks are going to be nowhere near it. Given all of these options, if you instead choose to spend your time and money on crap like “The Comebacks” (unless doing so is some kind of professional duty), there is no other way to put it–you are an idiot and you deserve exactly what you are going to get.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15608&reviewer=389
originally posted: 10/21/07 16:31:08
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User Comments

8/29/15 victor diaz oh my god what a disgrace 1 stars
10/13/11 ashley rexrode pretty wack! 1 stars
7/23/09 BoyInTheDesignerBubble My cousin was an extra, so I bought the dvd. He owes me money for this crap! 1 stars
12/19/08 Matt C. why why why 1 stars
1/25/08 Oz Insanely bad. Mind-bogglingly awful. 1 stars
10/28/07 Shannon DUMB DUMB DUMB 1 stars
10/24/07 mike really really not funny. i left 30 minutes into it. possibly the worst movie EVER 1 stars
10/23/07 William Goss As inept a genre parody as we've seen of late. Can't even meet me halfway, people? 1 stars
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  19-Oct-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 29-Jan-2008



Directed by
  Tom Brady

Written by
  Kevin Sabbe
  Tom Brady

  Carl Weathers
  David Koechner
  Matt Lawrence
  Brooke Nevin

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