March 28, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Pondering a little-known movie genre: the accidental comedy
You should have heard the giggles at last night’s preview screening of “The Host” — and, trust me, they weren’t all coming from me. (Overheard, leaving the theater: “That is the most stupid-ass movie I’ve ever seen.”) It made me think about what I’ll call accidental comedies: movies that aren’t meant to be funny, but nonetheless are. (I suppose there are also accidental dramas — comedies that just aren’t funny — but they aren’t anywhere near as enjoyable.) Any movie based on a Stephenie Meyer book usually falls into this category — the two “Breaking Dawn” movies, in particular, are masterpieces of the genre, particularly in the way the Cullen family tends to stand around as if ready for a Vogue photo shoot. (The Stryder family, in “The Host,” does the same thing, in their desert bunker complete with an underground wheat field, wearing attractively coordinated earth-toned outfits.) Accidental comedies are not good movies, but they are easier to sit through than dull unfunny movies; sometimes, you take whatever pleasure you can get.
Anyone have another favorite example of this genre? (Off the top of my head, I also thought of “Beowulf” and “Van Helsing”; surely I’ll think of a few more recent ones.) What’s the last movie that made you giggle, even though it wasn’t really supposed to be funny?