Throughout the world, society's sense of humour changes. In the United Kingdom, we're renowned for being very dry and sarcastic and thus it is black comedies that find their way into the living room - In Bruges or Dr. Strangelove are such examples. While slow, subtle humour is lost on other nations, the English persist in finding the droll moments in otherwise dull movies. Across the Atlantic, however, is the world of Jackass where falling over is deemed to be amusing. That's not to say that there is some crossover - Britain has Dirty Sanchez, while the US has Airplane!. While both are good at what they do, they're just not quite up to the standard of their counterparts.
|Charlie Chaplin set the bar for silent comedy|
Image Source: Wikipedia
In 1932 sound film output finally overtook silent film output. As a result, in the years after the Second World War silent film all but vanished. This gave producers another medium in which to engage their audience. Along with this, the first televisions were beginning to become commercially available, allowing cinematic productions to reach a far wider audience - which resulted in for more experimental comedy. This also meant a decline for feature length comedy as regularly broadcast situation comedies (sitcoms) began their rise directly into the homes.
Nowadays, full length feature comedies are hard to come by. Often they are parodies of other movies or genres - such as Date Movie or Meet The Spartans - and because of their farcical nature often miss out on the strength of storyline that other films show and are ridiculed as a result. This isn't to say that they don't appeal to some cinema-goers, but moreover the film reviewers tend to have a target audience of more regular movie watchers - who will often have previously appreciated the film that is being spoofed.
|Borat - Overly Offensive?|
When creating comedy, directors tend to focus too highly on making the audience laugh rather than keeping a storyline flowing. As a result, this splits modern comedy into three categories: those that make the audience laugh while keeping a strong storyline throughout and remembering to tie up the loose ends; those that have the audience in stitches while forgetting about the storyline and; those that try way too hard to be funny, forget the storyline and end up being categorised as a contender for the worst film... ever.
Occasionally of course there will be an original comedy that impresses more than you'd expect - and, more often than not, their money-grabbing sequels will fall into the latter category, having failed to expand on any of the innovative ideas from the original film - for example, Scary Movie.
Ultimately, most films will fall into the middle category, not being able to live up to some of the epic films that are being produced in modern cinema. This results in a number of 4-star films. Of course, rom-coms will still be available and amusing for those soppy romantic weekends, but this, I'm afraid, is not in the realm of the 5-star reviewer.
Unfortunately these films still need a strong storyline to appeal to their critics and it seems that comedy directors have forgotten about the most important thing - laughing about laughing matters... matters.