Tuesday, July 19, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 17: Your Favorite Comedy Film

Day 17: (One of) Your Favorite Comedy Films (That Not Enough People Have Seen): Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
In the wake of taking The Trip, I've been thinking quite a bit about the last time Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, and Michael Winterbottom joined forces.  In 2005, Winterbottom decided to try and tackle Laurence Sterne's convoluted comic novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and created something that's as under appreciated as it is brilliant. If you follow the text literally, Tristram Shandy is most certainly unfilmable; a big, thick 18th century work that fails to arrive at its protagonist's birth in spite of its hundreds of pages, it has been dubbed "postmodern before there was any modern to be post about" and indeed it is. Winterbottom, wisely, then, avoided literal adaptation and instead shot a bizarre comedy chronicling the production of a Shandy adaptation that is never completed.  Remarkably, however, it manages to fit in all of the most memorable moments, as well as the overall good humor and sparkling wit, of the text. Steve Coogan plays Steve Coogan. Rob Brydon plays Rob Brydon. The film banters, bickers, and alludes its way into any literary nerd's heart with remarkable ease. It's hysterical...undoubtedly one of my favorite comedies of the decade, and one that only grows funnier with each repeat viewing.  

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