Alphabetical Movie – Keeping the Faith
I’m pretty much OK with any form of comedy. Sure, I think some comedy is better than other comedy but that’s just natural. You can’t think everything is funny.
Try as I might, for instance, with the exception of There’s Something About Mary, I just don’t like the Farelly Brothers. Not their fault. Lots of people think their stuff is gut bustingly brilliant. Not me.
The one kind of comedy that simply never connects with me, though, is the kind of comedy that renders about ten minutes of Keeping the Faith almost unwatchable. I’m talking, of course, about embarrassing comedy.
When a movie tries to make me laugh by watching a character do something embarrassing, I don’t laugh. I wince. I turn away from the screen. If I’m watching it at home, I will often stand up and leave the room. I’ll still watch the movie, mind you, but I’ll feel the need to put some distance between me and what is playing on screen.
Maybe that’s why we decided to put a pass through from the Kitchen to the family room. I can put a wall between me and the stuff I don’t like watching.
So when Keeping the Faith gets to the scene where the Catholic priest (played by Edward Norton) is about to profess his undying love for a woman we already know is in love with someone else, I react as if a bucket of ice water had been dumped over my head. It doesn’t completely kill the film but if it went on a few minutes longer, it probably would.
I have no idea why embarrassing comedy turns me off so completely but boy does it.
I don’t have problems with embarrassed reactions. In fact, I don’t think I have a problem when the embarrassment isn’t telegraphed. Where I really have issue is in scenes where I know the embarrassment is coming.
Is it because I don’t like being embarrassed myself? I mean, nobody likes being embarrassed, do they?
I’m a performer, though. We performers are kind of used to being embarrassed. It goes with the territory. We don’t like it but we don’t wince in imagined pain and walk out of the room when we do something embarrassing. We snap our fingers and pretend that was exactly what we had planned.
When I’m watching it on-screen, though, maybe the problem is that the characters are reacting in a way that I never would. They are completely lost in the emotion and they never switch over to a point where they try to make the best out of a bad situation. In fact, most of them find a way to make the situation worse.
Seriously, it is agonizing.
Is there anyone else who simply can’t handle that kind of comedy? Or is it just me?
I imagine that everyone else watching Edward Norton make a fool of himself is laughing uncontrollably at his foolishness while I grit my teeth and leave the room. Then I imagine they all notice that I didn’t think the scene was funny.
And I get really embarrassed about it.