Cinema: Comedy: Big Bucks, Few Yuks

What is the sound of one man not laughing?

There are few more dispiriting recreations than sitting in a movie theater watching a failed comedy with a large audience. They came to have a good time. They've already paid for it. So, by God, they will have a good time—even if the experience is as sad and mechanical as two hours with a lethargic masseuse. These days, too many comedies are in the hands of writers and directors rehashing tired formulas, retyping favorite old jokes, doing the expected. Funny thing is, audiences still do the...

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