Video Virgil: Make 'Em Laugh (Not Squirm)
A friend writes with this question:
"Have you seen the new 'thing' in Hollywood, the 'let's see how far we can go before we are told we are crass' comedies like 40 Year-Old Virgin and Wedding Crashers? God they are, at times, insanely funny, but I couldn't help but think that they are pushing the envelope in a pretty big way ... I went with my 16-year-old son to Virgin, and I am certain he wished he were with ANYONE other than his dad."
I confess to having deliberately missed these, due to extreme prejudice against Hollywood wanker humor that
goes back several years, when I bailed out of Something About Mary, and would have done the same with the original American Pie if I hadn't been a guest at the house of friends who insisted on watching it with their young teenage kids. On this occasion I was definitely on the side of all awkward 16-year-olds.
But before you cast me as the Church Lady, consider my delight in the fourth segment of Jim Jarmusch's little known Night on Earth (1991). You don't have to sit through the whole five segments about taxi drivers and their nighttime passengers in five different cities. Just cut to the one in which a Roman cabby (played by Roberto Benigni in his prime) picks up a gloomy elderly priest (Paolo Bonacelli) who agrees, against his better judgment, to hear the cabby's confession. The whole thing is in very bad taste, I assure you. But my rule is: when it gets that funny, it can be as gross as it wants.