Saturday, November 19, 2005

Back to form

Although I was raised in a strict Southern Baptist household, I owe a good bit of my development to a couple of Jews.

I was introduced to Woody Allen when our youth group leader took me and a few others to see "Zelig," which remains one of my favorites. It was there I first heard the term "masturbation" (I was young and naive. Mostly naive). For you dirty minds, this wasn't demonstrated to me by the youth group leader --- granted, I've always enjoyed the incongruity of being exposed to Woody Allen by a Sunday school teacher --- although he did answer my question when I asked what Leonard Zelig's character was referring to when he says: "I teach a course in masturbation. Advanced. If I don't get there on time they start without me."

No need to heap additional praise (or scorn) on Woody. Regardless, he takes a back seat to Albert Brooks, the man behind such comedic classics as "Real Life" and "Lost in America." Unfortunately, like Allen, his latest work has been, shall we say, disappointing. Strike that: "The Muse" was one of the worst movies of the past five years. Andie McDowell and Sharon Stone, in the same movie? What could possibly be gained from such a frightful collaboration?

Fortunately, it appears Brooks has decided to be funny again with his next release (due in January), "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World." The plot: Brooks, playing himself, is sent by the U.S. government to the Middle East in an effort to find out what makes Muslims laugh. Hard to imagine this one misfiring.

Sample dialogue: "What could you possibly know about comedy anyway? There are no comedians in Iran?" ... "I was the funniest one in school. And in explosives training."

Welcome back, Albert Einstein (his real name, fitting for a comedic genius). And please, stay away from Andie McDowell in the future.

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