Tuesday, August 18, 2009
We are on the horizon of a new kind of media. Internet video sites let anyone set up a web cam and be a star. You don't need a famous name, fantastic connections or even a budget, if you've got a video camera, you've got a shot. Sadly this doesn't guarantee that the best shows will become popular, and this is evident in the film Ryan and Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure.
I usually wait a couple of days to review a film. This isn't so I can get distance from the film and then review it more fairly, but really because I'm a procrastinator. I'm making an exception by reviewing Ryan and Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure (which will be hereafter called Not So Excellent, or NSE just because the title is a pain to type out) the evening after I watched it, because pretty soon, my kind mind will start psychologically blocking the movie out. My memory's already growing shady, so I better get to work.
The film follows Ryan Higa and Sean Fujiyoshi, the stars of a popular YouTube series creatively called "Ryan and Sean." They are called to Hollywood by a struggling producer who has one more chance to make a successful movie. Then they have to go through a lot of zany hurdles trying to make a film. I know close to nothing about film making, and I understand that the film has to stretch the bounds of logic for humor's sake, but the film doesn't attempt to make any sort of sense. Monty Python's Holy Grail looks linear in comparison.
Ryan and Sean's was successful enough (depressing, I know) to get the funding to make an extremely low budget film. This shouldn't be held against them, low budget films--e.g. Evil Dead--have launched many film careers-- director Sam Rami, actor Bruce Cambell-- but this movie looked downright sloppy. Takes that wouldn't have made it onto a class project's blooper reel were in the completed picture. Thanks to digital cameras, film makers don't have to worry about the cost of film, so there's not excuse for the takes where the main characters flub lines or awkwardly attempt to get their jokes out. They also project random world cities behind the leads while they travel, instead of the regular road. That was funny in Airplane, here it just felt lazy.
The projection wasn't the only joke stolen in NSE. The film follows in the Seltzer And Friedberg school of comedy, where, if it's like that other movie, it's hilarious right? I was subjected to a dull Napoleon Dynamite parody, a dull Blues Brothers parody, a dull There Will Be Blood parody ('cause, you know, the kids they love dramas about the oil business) and countless other flat imitations trying to pass as comedy. A couple of the parodies did attempt to reach for their own humor, but those were so incomprehensible that they had to name check their sources to be recognized. Then, at the end of the film, the characters complain that the in film film producer is only copying other films and that isn't their style. I'd like to think that this is the film's attempt to use hypocritical humor. If that was so, maybe the whole film was meant to make fun of the audience who would watch this kind of dredge. Or maybe it's just a badly written movie.
The film's other jokes were forgettable. There was a running gag about Sean (or Ryan, I honestly can't remember which) sleeping through anything, then Ryan (or was that Sean) farted in his face. Also, midget jokes, lots of midget jokes. Uh, yeah. Great comedy.
Apparently this film opened to sold out theaters in California, and Hawaii (the stars' home state). If you want to find me, I'll be in my room, crying for civilization.