As summer comedies encroach upon us some inspired, some just plain dumb its time to look back at some really lame excuses for humor and pick the worst of many bad film comedies in history. Here goes nothing:
“The Love Guru” (2008) In a potentially career-wrecking performance, Mike Meyers played an Indian-raised guru who is assigned to help a Toronto hockey player win back his wife. Hilarious, right? Not with the procession of lame jokes, strained lowjinks and bad performances that studded this colossal misfire. Amazingly, Justin Timberlake survived and made more movies, but lots of mantra chanting was needed, I’m sure.
“Under The Rainbow” (1981) The tagline tragically said it all: Somewhere Under the Rainbow, way down low Chevy Chase, Carrie Fisher and 150 midgets are fighting valiantly to save our country against all Oz! Oy. I love a politically incorrect comedy and mixing Nazis and little people would seem to be a recipe for incorrect success but in this case, the laughs were the same as the careers of everyone involved after this came out: nonexistent.
“Bucky Larson: Born To Be a Star” (2011) Adam Sandler cowrote this hopeless farrago of mirthlessness, but at least he exercised some intelligence in not starring in it, too. Nick Swardson put on the buck teeth and small prosthetic penis of the title character and entered a world filled with lazy writing and no insight at all. The story has big nerd Bucky so delighted to learn his parents were porn stars that he moves to Hollywood try to follow their illustrious career path. The resulting movie is of a badness the world had forgotten was capable of existing. Porn should sue. Hollywood should sue. His parents should sue. The film was nominated for six Razzies, and it was such a loser it didnt even win any!
“Gigli” (2003) When Bennifer (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez) were the sizzling tabloid Couple of the Moment, out came this mess of a movie which proved they had no chemistry whatsoever, and they couldnt even fake it. The plot puts together an obnoxious hitman, a mentally challenged kidnap victim and a lesbian assassin for some unconvincing shtick that is endlessly offensive, but not in a good way. Gobble, gobble as Lopez immortally says while … Well, see it for yourself. No, dont! Its turkey time, indeed.
“Howard The Duck” (1986) A cigar-chomping duck from another planet arrives via an obviously evil laser beam. Kids try to help him back to his own planet, and the entire world should have joined them and made sure it happened faster. The wisecracking poultry of the title is loud and irritating, though not so much as the annoying humans, like Lea Thompson and Jeffrey Jones. After seeing this movie, you will want to run to a Chinese restaurant and order Peking duck. You might even want to watch them cook it.
“The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle” (2000) Robert DeNiro is really hilarious, right? Actually, he can be, and hes proved that more than once. But not in this. As Fearless Leader, he sinks like a rock, and so do Jason Alexander and Renee Russo as a very anemic version of Boris and Natasha.The animated characters do better since you cant feel the shame in their faces though theres more of Piper Perabo (as FBI agent Karen Sympathy) than anyone else, whether real or imagined. The result actually does hit the spot on occasion, and at least it has aspirations, but it winds up being winky and uncomfortable, trashing the memory of a witty show with a self-referential bad idea.
“The Master of Disguise” (2002) Italian waiter Pistachio Disguisey (laughing yet?) has to fight off a criminal genius through his amazing quick-change talents. This could have been a deft vehicle for Carvey, but as produced by Adam Sandler, suffice it to say its not exactly “The Mask.” With each new character and accent, you want Carvey to change to another one and see if maybe that ones funny. No matter what identity hes doing, the mood is as desperate as someone trying 20 different hats on at a funeral for attention. Sadly, Carvey was once again topped by his comic partner Mike Meyers, when “The Love Guru” proved to be an even bigger disappointment. (See above.) Both funny men should have donned disguises in real life after these bombs came out.
“Dont Worry, Well Think Of a Title” (1966) If you liked Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie and Richard Deacon on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” then buy the boxed set of “The Dick Van Dyke Show!” In this rotten excuse for a comedy, Amsterdam is a diner worker named Charlie Yuckapuck whos mistaken for a cosmonaut named Yascha Nudnik. And thats where the hilarity doesnt ensue. There are two cardboard-like young leads in love, and the older folk are awful, too, as the screwball plot is delivered via long, hamfisted scenes with the pacing of a nursing home after midnight. In theaters, even the crickets didnt laugh. Its a good thing they never bothered to think of a title since no one saw it anyway.
“The Fat Spy” (1966) A fountain-of-youth comedy that got old really quickly. Comic Jack E. Leonard barely registers in two roles, Jayne Mansfield fails to titillate with two protrusions and even the always hilarious Phyllis Diller isnt hilarious. This movie passes over you like a heavy-metal tune screeched by a deaf parrot.
“Bringing Up Baby” (1938) A zoology professor (Cary Grant), a wacky heiress (Katharine Hepburn), a leopard and a reputation as one of the most sparkling comedies ever made. And I find it mirthless! To me, the whole thing is pseudo-funny, with labored lunacy, wilting chemistry and too much animal shtick. It sort of almost works, but it teeters into a pit of lameness and never recovers. Yes, Im aware that this is a minority opinion sort of like saying “Ishtar” is good but Im sticking to it, since Im a wacky heiress myself. (And by the way, I really do think that “Ishtar” is good!)