Young Geoffrey (ed_rex) wrote,
Young Geoffrey

Tom Green: Heir to the Marx Brothers


Over the past few weeks, Laura and I have taken in the Auto-Show (yes, I was pretty shocked, too; there isn't much I won't too for my sweetie) and taken in a few videos.

Among the latter, were Tom Green's Freddy Got Fingered and the Marx Brother's "classic", Duck Soup. (We're nothing if not ecclectic.)

For those who haven't seen it, Freddy is the story (more or less) of a man-child who wants to be a cartoonist and whose parents want him to move out and stand on his own two feet. There is little in the way of plot, none that would make sense in the real world. Almost all of the comedy arises from Green himself. If you don't think sucking milk from a lactating cow is funny, perhaps watching a wheel-chair-bound, nymphomaniac who enjoys having her shins battered with a bamboo pole will do the trick. And if neither works, enjoy the recurring theme of the 10-year-old boy who is far more than a little accident-prone.

And for those who haven't seen it, A Night at the Opera is almost just as plotless. Groucho Marx is a conniving confidence artist whose specialty is feecing rich but naive widows. There is a romance of sorts that takes up far too much of the picture's running time, a couple of musical numbers that do the same - and one scene (the hotel room, 'natch) that had both Laura and I in stitches, along with 3 or 4 others that did make us laugh.

Both movies, despite roughly 70 years between them, share a few things in common. Neither are particularly good films; both strain the viewers credulity and patience; and both have contain scenes that both shock and delight (despite oneself).

One more commonality occurs to me.

Both the Marx Brothers and Tom Green are more interested in telling jokes than they are in telling stories. When the jokes work, both the Brothers and Green hit that special spot inside all of us that both accepts that something happened, yet refuses to believe it could have happened, thus releasing violent laughter, after despite our better instincts.

Both comedians delight in the pure anarchy of comedy, without much regard for the norms of story-telling, of morality or even of common sense.

The Marx Brothers were not as crude as Tom Green, but they were not nearly so far away as one would think, if one's judgement is based only on swear-words and childish gross-out humour. One of the Opera's better moments came after Harpo had dropped a sandbag on the head of the film's villain, Trentino. Harpo then used smelling salts to bring Trentino to his senses - only so he could drop another sandbag on the poor bastard's noggin.

That's not subtle, folks, but it is funny.

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