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New Comedy is Scary Bad, While Horror Film is Funny

June 22, 2008

By Jeff Vice Deseret News

Funny man Mike Myers is well-known for having a sense of humor. Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan is pretty much known for not having much of a sense of humor at all.

So keeping that in mind, you tell me why Shyamalan’s latest, a thriller titled “The Happening,” has more laughs in it than Myers’ “The Love Guru.”

And by “more laughs,” I mean that the former has a lot more laughs in it.

What’s scary about that is the R-rated “Happening” is supposed to be, well … scary, not silly. Instead, its dour, dire blend of heavy-handed ecological warnings and at-times graphic violence comes off as laughably dumb.

Also, Mark Wahlberg, who can be very good when he’s given the right material, is horribly miscast. He’s unconvincing and seems pretty blase about his role as a high school science teacher. Given the atrocious dialogue Shyamalan gave him to read, you can’t really blame Wahlberg.

And what’s sad about “The Love Guru” is that it’s supposed to be funny — and that it’s supposed to be Myers’ big comeback film. He hasn’t made a live-action feature since “Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat” (2003).

Unfortunately, “Love Guru” is even worse than “Cat in the Hat.” It’s a painfully stupid, train wreck of a movie that makes even the worst of his “Austin Powers” comedies seem like high art.

There’s nothing funny about it whatsoever, not even co-star Jessica Alba’s failed attempts at acting (and singing and dancing in a couple of musical-parody bits).

But don’t feel too bad for Myers. Even if the film flops, he can always fall back on his voice work in the popular “Shrek” animated fantasy/comedies (a fourth one is already in pre-production).

As for writer-director Shyamalan, his latest movie opened strongly. But given the diminishing returns on his films and bad audience word of mouth on “The Happening,” his future prospects may not be as bright.

— SO BAD IT’S GOOD?

Speaking of bad filmmaking, something purporting to be the “best worst movie” is coming to Morgan, Utah, Friday through Sunday.

That movie is “Troll 2,” a low-budget horror film that was shot in Morgan in 1989 and which has become a cult classic of sorts. The Best Worst Movie Web site (bestworstmovie.com) and the Alamo Rolling Roadshow, based in Austin, Texas, are sponsoring a three-day event/ festival titled “Nilbog Invasion.”

The center attraction is “Troll 2,” and its stars, filmmakers and others involved in the movie’s production will be on hand to answer questions … or perhaps explain themselves.

“Nilbog Invasion” will also boast screenings of “Troll” (1986) and “The Crawlers” (1990), also known as “Troll 3,” as well as a sneak preview of “Best Worst Movie,” a documentary about the making of “Troll 2.”

Other featured events include a popcorn-eating contest, a “dance- and-eat” opening night party, a javelin toss and a “Guitar Hero” video-game competition.

Information on ticket prices, ticket packages and screening times and locations are available at www.bestworstmovie.com/invasion. Or call (512) 912-0529.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com

(c) 2008 Deseret News (Salt Lake City). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.




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