Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

If I had to choose which decade had the best comedies, I would easily pick the 1960s. They manage to mix innuendo of the decade with the familiar slapstick of the previous decades. It's a mix that most comedies nowadays need to do more often.

Richard Lester's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is one such comedy. Based on the stage musical of the same name, the displays the familiar slapstick antics of the earlier decades. (Certainly doesn't hurt that the film has Buster Keaton amongst the cast.)

Sometimes the main plot for a comedy involves lies upon lies building up throughout the film. And boy, it is all over the place in this film. And as the lies build, the antics can get crazy. (I honestly wonder how they could do some of those antics on stage let alone on screen.)

And with any comedy, it all relies on the actors. It features several names that were popular at the time, such as Zero Mostel and Phil Silvers. They all do very well their roles, but nothing can compare to the wild-eyed mania of Mostel.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum certainly has its moments but in comparison to other comedies of the time period, it feels like the weaker of them. Still, Stephen Sondheim's musical numbers are quite entertaining as are the actors. If you need a silly film to pass the time, this is it.

My Rating: ****

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