I agree with the old saying that "tragedy is easy; comedy is hard." For too many comedies, you have to check your brain at the door and just accept that some of the humor will work and some of it won't.
That's very true of WE'RE THE MILLERS and THE WORLD'S END, two new comedies that try too hard to make us laugh.
THE WORLD'S END has a promising setup. Five old friends are about to make fools of themselves. They're led by Simon Pegg as Gary King, a 40 year old who still lives like a college kid. These guys haven't seen each other in 20 years, but they're returning to their hometown to finish a bar crawl they tired to make back then.
Gary tells his friends, "This is our chance to finally conquer the golden mile. 12 pubs, 12 pints, ending at a pub called "The Word's End."'
The men check into a bed and breakfast where Gary says to the owner, "Leave a light on good lady for though we may return with a twinkle in our eyes, we will in truth be blind…. drunk!"
THE WORD'S END has lots of laughs and some really witty dialogue until it goes off the rails by turning the other inhabitants of this English village into monster robots who try to kill them.
This pushes the film over the edge into silliness that is so much less funny that just these five middle aged men foolishly trying to recapture their youth.
Plus, some of the humor is on the level of a cartoon.
Woman: "Let's climb down the drain pipe." (to get away from the robots)
Gary: I got a better idea. (He jumps and hurts himself landing on top of a car.)
Still, overall, THE WORLD'S END is a smarter comedy than WE'RE THE MILLERS, a hit and miss farce that goes for dumb humor more often than not.
Ed Helms as a drug boss: I have a smidge of marijuana down in Mexico. Bring it back by Sunday night and I will pay you 100,000 dollars.
Jason Sudeikis is David Clark, a low level drug seller who must figure out a way to smuggle drugs across the border. His solution: hire three people to pose as his family--a neglected neighbor boy, a female runaway, and a stripper played by Jennifer Anniston. David agrees to pay her 10,000 dollars.
Anniston (as they board a flight to Mexico): I want 30,000 now.
Anniston: OK; have a safe flight.
David: No, Wait. Fine. Bloodsucker
Anniston: Hmm. All right. Happy wife; Happy life. Hi kids.
David: Make room for your mother.
Again, the movie has a funny premise and it does deliver some laughs. But it stoops too low for a lot of them. I couldn't laugh at all when the boy is bit by a scorpion in his private parts.
Bottom line: If you just want some laughs, THE WORLD'S END is a better choice, but you might be better off looking for comedy on television.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org