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February 09, 2005

Review: Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein

I want to love Young Frankenstein; in fact, I want to love many of Mel Brooks' movies. The idea of films in the manner of celebrated genres that nostalgically use the tropes of vaudeville humor appeals to me.

The problem is, they just don't make me laugh. I mean, I watch one, and I see what's supposed to be funny, but it's just not in me to laugh at it. This reminds me also of movies like Best in Show or A Mighty Wind: intellectually, I'm watching them thinking, "that was actually pretty funny", but I'm not actually laughing.

I mean, take Marty Feldman: one look at the guy, and I should be heaving out great guffaws. He just has that kind of face. Couple that with a roving hunch on his back and some good punchlines, and you'd think I'd be rolling on the floor.

After seeing Gene Wilder the other night in Bonnie & Clyde, I had a hankering for more of Gene Wilder¹. (As it turns out, I got more of two Genes, as Gene Hackman also had a small role in Young Frankenstein.) And while I got some enjoyment out of Gene Wilder as the grandson of the mad Dr. Frankenstein, there were only a couple of places where I even chuckled.

Everything was there -- the timing, the jokes, the off-kilter story -- and yet, it just didn't do it for me. It wasn't bad comedy, it just didn't connect with me.

** (out of four)

¹Call me strange. I don't know why. I just felt like seeing more of Gene Wilder. He has this sort of wide-eyed innocence about him, like he's not sure why misfortune befalls him, and he sort of makes his way through it, befuddled.

Posted by Brett Douville at February 9, 2005 10:48 PM