Tim Heidecker (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) stars in Rick Alverson's drama called The Comedy.
Where do you start with a film that never does? Even for someone who watches a lot of art house cinema, the ever-present sense of quiet inertia in Rick Alverson's The Comedy is hard going. On first impressions, the film could be mistaken for 92 minutes of outtakes and deleted scenes.
The film follows Swanson (Heidecker), who, set to live off his father's inheritance, fills his days with aimless games and absurd hedonism.
Sounds amazing, but the film is not the usual brand of Tim and Eric-style comedy. Although fans of the duo tend not to be put off by the unconventional or subversive, this film is still a challenge. I thought I was bored until I realised that constantly asking myself "What the f**k am I watching?" had kept me amused all the way to the end credits. It was only then I realised I'd just been treated to a total deconstruction of an impressive number of would-be brilliant comedy sketches spliced with some could-be heartwrencing drama.
Whether through accident or design (or time/budget restrictions), these could-be would-be moments are never milked. In fact, they're pitch perfect. It's simultaneously unsatisfying and yet entirely appropriate, given the content of the film, that the audience should get a taste of Swanson's drifting existence; one part carefree and one part introspective, in the very act of watching the movie.
Alverson's direction adds no more weight to the parts of the story in which characters interact meaningfully and the grand themes of the film begin to peak through than he does to scenes which have all the cinematic spectacle of looking out of a shit window.
That said, there are several laugh out loud moments in what is ostensibly a character study and the drama is brilliantly realistic, sometimes unsettlingly so.
Never has a film with the plot 'a man does nothing' been so very interesting.