Wow…could the Farrelly Brothers‘ The Heartbreak Kid (DreamWorks, 10.5) actually work on its own terms, independent of (or indifferent to) the legend of the 1972 Elaine May/Bruce Jay Friedman/Neil Simon original?
Variety‘s Lisa Nesselson, having caught the new Ben Stiller version at the Deauville Film Festival, is calling it “a model of intelligent adaptation as well as a free-standing entertainment in its own right…[which] sustains a superlative level of comic invention straight through to final frames.
“With their smart, hilarious update, the Farrelly Bros. make mincemeat of the (often correct) theory that good movies should never be remade. Cleverly bending the template of the…original to their patented brand of profane gagdom, the Farrellys fashion a pitch-perfect riff on the consequences that ensue when getting hitched turns into something out of Hitchcock. Uproarious romp, grounded in believable if gleefully implausible human behavior, is a model of comic timing.”
Wait…”gleefully implausible”? Now I’m worried. Could Nesselson be an easy lay, comedically-speaking?
For me, the foundation of all successful movie comedies is that the basic material — plot, characters, situations, etc. — has to be at least faintly plausible, which is to say faintly recognizable and at least somewhat reflective of real life. (Every piece of material in Some Like It Hot, to name one famous example, is at least faintly plausible.) If it’s flat-out implausible, gleefully or otherwise, a movie is not funny. Sorry, but it’s that simple.