|Why comedy is my favorite movie genre
||[Feb. 25th, 2005|10:08 pm]
A big part of what makes a novel or movie tick is how well it induces suspension of disbelief, and how much of an attempt is made at realism. Books are long enough for every minor detail to be threshed out, but movies are not. Some movies don't even try. Nicholas Cage action flicks, for instance. I hate 'em. Others try, and although they fall well short, the plot is engaging enough that you can forgive holes. I liked Ocean's Eleven a lot. Yet others go for perfection, and almost achieve it. Like Shawshank Redemption. (I'm talking about perfection of plot detail, not overall perfection; I didn't like Shawshank as much as most people seem to.)
Comedies don't have this constraint at all. The audience goes into the movie having already willingly suspended disbelief. Improbable coincidences, no matter how chimerical, are fair game. Take Groundhog Day. No attempt is made at realism of the plot because none is necessary. The absurdity is part of what makes it so funny.
I'm particularly sensitive to realism, which is why I love comedy. Consider Back to the Future. There's a theme about how people disappear from and reappear in a photograph from the future based on the chances that they are going to be born. If this weren't a comedy, this kind of thing would have simply killed the movie, at least for me. But in fact it comes off as a farcical look at the paradoxes of time travel, and is quite enjoyable.