Humor Me

 

Elliott Gould and Jemaine Clement play father and son in this thoroughly engaging comedy from Sam Hoffman, writer of the hit web series Old Jews Telling Jokes. Struggling playwright Nate (Clement) moves in with his joke-telling dad when his wife kicks him out. Struggling to get his life in order at his father’s New Jersey retirement community, Nate reluctantly agrees to coach a group of elderly women mounting a concert version of The Mikado.

Clement plays a playwright who’s trying to recapture the magic of his previous play that won him acclaim and awards, whilst stuck in a rut trying to perfect it, his wife up and leaves him for a french billionaire and jets off with him taking his son with her. This leaves him homeless and broke and in need of somewhere to stay, so with no other options he moves to his widowed fathers retirement community, the wonderfully named Cranberry Bog. The film opens with a Phillip Marlowe-esque voiceover from Gould telling one of his many “dad” jokes starring a recurring character called Zimmerman, there are many of these jokes peppered throughout the film and are all as wonderfully bad as each other, they all managed to elicit at very least a groan if not a laugh. Clements character is depicted as incredibly self centred thinking of nothing more than his play, whilst not an absentee father he has become reliant on his wife to raise him. Goulds character is shown to be stubborn and always cracking jokes, especially when he wants to change the subject and not continue a difficult conversation. The relationship between Gould and Clements character is believable enough and they both feel like a fairly standard stereotypical archetypes, which works for this film as it’s a fairly standard archetypal story about, growing up, coping with loss and the power of humour to bring people together.

Whilst not doing anything new, it does do it well. All the main characters are warm and likeable with excellent performances from the ensemble cast make this an enjoyable heartfelt and sometimes touching comedy.

★★★★

Euan Tennant

 

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