Hell Baby

R-rated jokes can be a good tool for a comedy filmmaker to have in their arsenal. There are some gags that simply don’t work when they’re toned down to satisfy the MPAA. But that doesn’t mean ruder, cruder, and lewder necessarily translates to funnier. A limp comedy is still a limp comedy, no matter how many bare butts, dick jokes, and blood splatters you toss in there.

Case in point: Last month’s green-band trailer for Hell Baby was pretty hit-or-miss, to put it generously, and I’m not sure that ratio’s much improved in this new red-band trailer. More boobs are on display, though, so there’s that. Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant direct, and Rob Corddry, Leslie Bibb, Riki Lindhome, and Keegan-Michael Key star. Hit the jump to watch the NSFW video.

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Hell Baby

A hopeful, pregnant couple moving into a decrepit old house: that never turns out well in the movies. In Hell Baby, though, filmmakers Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant try to have a little fun on the way to the inevitable doom that follows such a bad life choice.

Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb star as the married pair, who are expecting twins. They purchase a suspiciously cheap mansion in New Orleans, only to discover that it’s — surprise, surprise — haunted. The Vatican dispatches its crack exorcism team (played by Garant and Lennon) to help. Hilarity ostensibly ensues. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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Wanderlust, from director David Wain (The State, Wet Hot American Summer) and co-writer Ken Marino, outlines and explores a premise that will probably resonate with many people: a young couple, navigating the grind of city life but trapped by their own fears and inadequacies, is forced to leave the city and take refuge with family by dual economic misfortunes.

Well, that part of the premise might resonate. The next bit is perhaps less familiar: the couple’s final destination ends up being Elysium, a commune-like community where their frigid inability to relax is cracked and thawed by an ultra-crunchy lifestyle. (Admittedly, the attentions of a couple of sexually aggressive residents doesn’t hurt.)

For the most part, Wanderlust isn’t a deep character study or a particularly perceptive dissection of human nature. (For something closer to that, see Lukas Moodysson’s Together, which was likely an inspiration for Wain.) This is more like seeing the funhouse mirror caricatures of Wet Hot American Summer grown to adulthood. This film doesn’t quite celebrate the same sense of absurdity, and doing so — living up to one of the film’s own arguments, you could say — might make it more of a keeper. Yet Wanderlust is possessed of a strong  enough free spirit that you might want to join its (almost) free-love drum circle just the same. Read More »

The great, wacky 2001 comedy Wet Hot American Summer didn’t do any respectable box office business, but the deep goofiness of the film has generated a fervent cult following in the decade since its original release. It doesn’t hurt that the film featured a treasure trove of comic talent, some in the early stages of their careers: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Zak Orth, A.D. Miles, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Molly Shannon, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks and Bradley Cooper.

The film suggested the possibility of a sequel, and the sequel is a frequent object of inquiry when director David Wain or one of the primary cast members does an interview, even a decade later. In the last couple years, Wain has said that a sequel or prequel isn’t out of the question, despite the fact that Universal doesn’t seem to believe in the project, and several of the original cast members have a much higher quote now than they did a decade ago.

But there may be reason to rejoice, fans of WHAS: Michael Showalter now says that a sequel is “absolutely happening”! Read More »

It’s the first official day of summer, and therefore the longest day of the year, and a withering 95 degrees outside my window. (But it ain’t the heat; it’s the humidity.) So what better time to talk about one of the best summer comedies? David Wain‘s Wet Hot American Summer was made on a relatively small budget and greeted by a seemingly disinterested audience in 2001. But the film has found an enthusiastic cult audience, and one of the tenets of cult movie enthusiasm is holding out hope for a sequel, no matter how unlikely.

In this case, blame the film itself for some of the sequel dreams — it actively advances the idea of a sequel by having the characters end the movie joking about organizing a ten-year reunion. And so, almost every time David Wain gives an interview the question comes up: where’s the sequel? But the movie didn’t do well ten years ago and Universal doesn’t seem to think it will do well now. (Don’t expect a feature-laden anniversary DVD release.)

That doesn’t mean the idea of another movie with the characters (played by Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Zak Orth, A.D. Miles, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Molly Shannon, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, Amy Poehler, and Bradley Cooper) is 100% out of the realm of possibility, however. It’s probably only about 98% impossible. Read More »

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