IHAO on ... Magicians

Judd Apatow is really good at what he does.  Now I'm not talking all the knock-off Apatow-STYLED films, I mean the comedy-dramas that he has become known for.  They are able to have all the heart, all the skill, all the deft handling of a drama about serious topics, and all the fun, all the mirth, and all the heightened reality of a comedy.  Not every Apatow-styled comedy works.  I talked about the Five-Year Engagement not too long ago.  It has this exact problem.  Best Man Down last week did as well, though it was much more indy-drama feeling than Magicians or Five-blah-blah-blah.

Magicians has a bunch of flaws.  But let me share the plot first, because it sounds like a comedy straight-up.  Check it: A magician duo get an assistant, who marries one of them but wants the other.  The husband catches his best friend and his wife having sex in the cut-the-girl-in-half box, but the show must go on.  But, oops, the cheating wife accidentally gets her head cut off.  Fast forward four years and the widower now is down on his luck and need money, and finds a magician competition.  The other magician, who has a gay manager who is into him, has been trying to brand himself like Blaine or Angel, and ends up doing the competition as well.  Hilarity ensues.

Except it doesn't.  There is not an ounce of mirth or funny in the whole film.  There are lines that could be humorous, circumstances that could be funny, and characters that could be interesting.  But instead, the film has decided to play everything straight.  EVERYTHING.  Every shot, every color, every scene, every music cue, every line, every expression, all of it.  The filmmaker must think that it is EXTRA hilarious to not be funny.  And not even in a Tim and Eric way, where they are at least inane.  No, this is just played completely straight, like a drama.

Every character is reprehensible because of that fact.  Every scene is just a slow grating.  It reminded me of Bad Words without any of the heightened reality that made it so funny.  If I cannot enjoy myself, these douchebag characters are just douchebags.

Except for David Mitchell's Carl.  He is enjoyable and likable.  Ish.  I say "ish" because he isn't supposed to be.  We are supposed to root for the other one.  *sigh*  Oh, and in looking up the actor's name, I have come to learn these two are a duo.  They have done a long standing British comedy show, the Peep Show, together.  With this director.  And these writers.  Oh man.  I can't ... I really want to know if that is any good.  Somebody lemme know.  Because I cannot imagine it being any good.

This movie is bad.  But it just isn't bad enough.  And that makes me angry.  I want this to be graded way worse than it is.  But it is fine.  It isn't funny, but it is fine.  The acting isn't great, but it is fine.  The plots (there is a B plot I didn't even feel like mentioning because it is 100% removable) aren't great, but they are ... fine.  Every time I saw the word it grates on me worse and worse.  Yet it is absolutely true.  But I would tell no one to see this movie.

Grade: C--

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