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An old version of humorist Douglas Kenney tells the story of how he and Henry Beard parleyed their success in their campus magazine, Harvard Lampoon, into the commercial magazine, National Lampoon. Drawing upon their checkered lives and an aggressively puckish sense of humor, the pair created a publication that would redefine American comedy with outrageous drollery that grabbed the zeitgeist of the decade that expanded across various media. Unfortunately, for all his success, Doug Kenney with his overhanging insecurities, ego and irresponsible appetites began to consume him until he alienates everyone who ever cared and supported him even as they imitated him. In the end, this iconoclastic funnyman would come to a tragedy that comes when your comedy doesn't have enough distance.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A driven joker pushes his way through Harvard and on to comedy stardom, but the fun begins to get manic ...
Clever story telling that takes a while to get the right mood, but once it hits the American Hustle-style montage pace with the '70s period look it just rolls along. Plenty of decent laughs, but with good introspection by the lead actor. I didn't know much about this guy, and his stuff was just before my time, but I found the story really engaging, and of course there's the satisfaction of spotting a host of comedy stars at the start of their screen careers. Biggest laugh was Chevy Chase trying to pour a drink at the parents' new mansion.
The meta narrative is amusing, with a pointed reference to the source of the movie's title, but it also pulls a clever trick in setting up a shock ending for anyone who doesn't know this man's life. Only complaint is that there's no killer line. Maybe: "All you had to say was don't call me Shirley".
The performances are good all round, and the direction, editing and cheerful music keep it bubbling all the way through.
Overall: Nice surprise, big recommend.
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