Thursday, September 23, 2010

Film Yap: Bored to Death

On paper, Bored to Death is brilliant. It’s the story of Jonathan Ames’s alter ego who is played by Jason Schwartzman. After his girlfriend dumps him, he randomly puts up an ad on Craig’s List as an unlicensed private detective. Jonathan feels he can easily do this since he’s read so many detective novels. His friends are played by Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson and his ex-girlfriend is Olivia Thirlby. This sounds amazing!

Then what happened? There is no life to this show. In order to have a difference between an ordinary life and a faux-noir life, I suppose the ordinary life has to be paler in comparison. That’s fine to have a character that is not a Bogart, but let him at least be bearable. Jonathan just whines all of the time.

This is a comedy and there are a ton of hilarious comedians in this. There just aren’t very many jokes per episode. All of the amusement comes from the actors adding in little quirks to the scene, seemingly to amuse themselves.

In just eight episodes, they managed to ignore the plot twice. If the title is correct and Jonathan is as bored as he claims, then how can his life easily involve losing Jim Jarmusch’s screenplay and forced to partake in a boxing match? There are so few stakes in every episode. Perhaps that is supposed to match the stoner, loser attitude of the character of Jonathan but that just makes for a boring show. It gets too caught up on characters that aren’t dynamic.

In addition to a lack of comedy in a comedy, there isn’t much mystery in the mystery. There are some standard cases, but if the premise is that Jonathan has read too many mysteries can we acknowledge this? Just a reference every once in awhile? When characters are obsessed with movies or video games, they tend to talk about them a lot. Jonathan just wants to talk about his girlfriend or whatever little problem he has. Scott Pilgrim is more focused than this guy.

It can not be said enough how much the actors save this show. The scripts are boring, but they have hilarious people like Oliver Platt, John Hodgman, Kristen Wiig, Parker Posey, Heather Burns, and Jenny Slate to give it just a little bit of energy. Listening to the commentary tracks confirmed my fears. Every little joke I liked or fun moment was improvised. Despite only having negative things to say about this show, these actors are so talented this is somehow a watchable show. This is also one of the greatest theme songs on TV right now, which of course was created entirely by Schwartzman.

The bonus features for the DVD are pretty lame as well. The audio commentaries are very boring where the real Ames, the director of the episode and Schwartzman just give us tidbits like “That was my luggage in the scene” or them just complimenting each other. There are also deleted scenes and two long featurettes. I think “Making of Bored to Death” actually moved faster than one of the episodes. That’s not good.

Show: 2 Yaps

Extras: 2.5 Yaps

No comments:

Post a Comment