Eine nutzlose und dumme Geste (2018)

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Eine nutzlose und dumme Geste: Directed by David Wain. With Frank Gingerich, Morgan Gingerich, Annette O’Toole, Harry Groener. In the 1970s and ’80s, National Lampoon’s success and influence creates a new media empire overseen in part by the brilliant and troubled Douglas Kenney.

“POILER: I really enjoyed this film. I have watched several of the documentaries concerning Animal House and Caddyshack and Doug Kenneyu0026#39;s name comes up quite often amongst the cast and crew. Chevy Chase and he were really close and Chevy still feels some guilt over leaving Hawaii right before Kenneyu0026#39;s death. The man was apparently a comic genius who couldnu0026#39;t escape his childhood baggage.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe format is well played with Will Forte as the young Doug and Martin Mull as kind of older, alternate universe Doug, if Kenney had lived, narrating the film. The rest of the cast is well known, playing unknown actors and writers. It took me a second to recognize Natasha Lyonne (American Pie) as Anne Beatts, Thomas Lennon (Reno 911) as Micheal Ou0026#39;Donoghue, and Joel McHale (Community) as Chevy Chase. All of them are covered in 70s hairstyles and McHale does a really good job of mimicking Chaseu0026#39;s speech patterns and even his trademark pratfalls.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe film excels in showing how Kenney rose from a malcontent to a Harvard grad to a fledgling magazine editor to movie writer. Forte is especially compelling and funny as Kenney. He doesnu0026#39;t quite have the acting range to pull off the downward spiral of the person, but he does an excellent job with the jokes and the other aspects of Kenneyu0026#39;s life. Where the film fails is trying to shoehorn too many characters into its 100 minute run time. There is even a humorous scene of older Kenney (Mull) explaining to a bunch of supporting characters that there wasnu0026#39;t enough screen time for all of them so they get ignored. But the film goes to great pains to cram in other famous people such as Gilda Radner, Christopher Guess (Seth Green), Bill Murray, and John Belushi. The actors playing Murray and Belushi came off as actors lampooning (no pun intended) the famous comedians. Belushi was such a huge personality, I doubt anyone could portray him properly in such a short cameo.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAnother special mention goes out to Emmy Rossum. She is a stunning screen presence and even though her appearance is short, as Kenneyu0026#39;s last girlfriend, she lights up the screen. She is a gorgeous actress as well.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThere is also a fun nod to Animal House with Mark Metcalf (Neidermeyer) portraying a publisher.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe movie moves fast through the various periods of Kenneyu0026#39;s life, but I think he would have enjoyed it. He comes off as funny, yet troubled, a brilliant comedian, but an emotionally stinted adult. A Futile and Stupid Gesture is anything but. The only thing I would have added, is maybe some post interviews with the actual people portrayed in the movie who knew Kenney, even if they were archival for some (Belushi and Ramis). Still, this was a well-done film.”


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