More and more films premiere on Video on Demand — if they don’t simply bypass a theatrical release altogether. Because VOD reviews are often scarce and hard to find, Criticwire created VODetails, a recurring column to help you figure out whether a new VOD release is worth your hard-earned dollar. This time we’re looking at “The Comedy,” a divisive and disturbing look at a poorly behaved Brooklynite — not a comedy (I know, I know, the title. Just look past it).
Director: Rick Alverson
Cast: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, James Murphy
Current Criticwire Average: B (out of 15 critics)
Official Synopsis: “On the cusp of inheriting his father’s estate, Swanson (Tim Heidecker, ‘Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!’) is a man with unlimited options. An aging hipster in Brooklyn, he spends his days in aimless recreation with like-minded friends (‘Tim & Eric’ co-star Eric Wareheim, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy and comedian Gregg Turkington a.k.a. ‘Neil Hamburger’) in games of comic irreverence and mock sincerity. As Swanson grows restless of the safety a sheltered life offers him, he tests the limits of acceptable behavior, pushing the envelope in every way he can. Heidecker’s deadpan delivery cleverly masks a deep desire for connection and sense in the modern world. ‘The Comedy’ wears its name on its sleeve, but director Rick Alverson’s powerful and provocative character study touches a darkness behind the humor that resonates with viewers long after the story ends.”
“An ambitious, purposefully off-putting film, a dissection of where we find comedy and how we react to it.”
“An essential portrait of a generation of people laughing so hard that they’ve forgotten the joke is on them.”
“This is one that’ll have people talking.”
“Heidecker’s performance is oddly heroic, as he holds nothing back in depicting his character as an unrecalcitrant jerk.”
“Alverson is onto something culturally significant about the terminal disconnect bred by vapid self-indulgence, and there’s certainly rigor in his methods. But you can only make an audience squirm for so long without a payoff.”
“The Comedy” is now available on VOD, Amazon, and iTunes. It opens in Los Angeles on November 9th.