It had felt like it had been a while since I had watched a movie, nobody else in the house was interested in watching a movie. My wife was laying in bed not feeling well and Jena just plain wasn’t interested. So I picked a movie I didn’t think either of them would miss watching, Blankman. I think I made a good call on that one. I thought Catwoman was funnier than this movie and it’s not even technically a comedy. I do have to admit there were a couple times I chuckled at the jokes but they were few and far between. I’m also not going to list which jokes they were, but when I was telling my wife about this movie I looked up the trailer to show to her and every single moment that I thought was funny was crammed into the trailer.
Anyway this movie was released shortly after In Living Color finished its run on television and it starred two of the show’s cast members, Damon Wayans and David Allen Greer. If you’ve seen the show you might think this was an attempt to bring Handi-man to the big screen, but instead of being physically handicapped, Blankman is just socially handicapped. He’s a nerd that lives with his brother and grandmother and makes gadgets out of junk. Unlike most other comedic characters that invent weird gadgets like Data from the Goonies or the guy from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, pretty much all of his gadgets actually work the way he intends them to, they just look like trash. One of the things he creates is bulletproof fabric and he uses it to create a costume so he can become a crimefighter. And then there’s a series of increasingly ridiculous crimefighting scenarios where he’s given a chance to save the day.
My biggest problem with this movie is when it feels like it’s trying to be serious, it’s goofy, and when it’s trying to be funny, it’s just not funny. Like every time Blankman gets kissed he has a total spaz because we’re supposed to believe that he’s never had an erection before and is surprised and confused by it. And the mob boss villain happens to have dozens of explosives all set to go off at the exact same time, twice. The first time it blows up an entire bank, and the second time it’s supposed to blow up an entire skyscraper but it’s contained in a washing machine robot. And the second time the mob boss shows up, he’s wearing satin for some inexplicable reason other than to make a joke about it that’s not even funny.
And I haven’t even mentioned the girl, Kimberly. She’s a star reporter for the local news station while Blankman’s brother Kevin played by Greer has the hots for her. But of course as soon as Blankman starts showing his face stopping crime she has the hots for his badly homemade costume and acts like a total fangirl over him. It’s totally ridiculous and not even in a funny way. She spends the entire movie talking about how great Blankman is because apparently the audience needs someone in the movie to convince them that Blankman is a good superhero because he doesn’t even really do anything. Aside from the finale, the only thing that you see Blankman do to actually stop any crime is use a boot to the head to a convenience store robber. Kevin has some pretty unconvincing Karate moves that easily make whoever he’s fighting fall limply over. I understand that it’s a comedy but the fight scenes should have gone one of two ways. Either they should be surprisingly convincingly real which was used to good effect in Kick-Ass, or they should be so over the top ridiculous that the fight itself is a joke. Blankman appears to make it seem like they are really fighting, but it’s worse than B-movie fight choreography.
It really felt like this could have been a good superhero sendup but they didn’t go far enough. Most characters in a superhero story whether it is a comic book or a movie are already caricatures. From the hero to the villain to the damsel in distress, they are often portrayed as an exaggerated form of reality. It felt like most of the comedy in this movie came from trying to play the characters as caricatures of real people instead of caricatures of caricatures. In other words, most of the characters in this movie felt like just badly written comic book characters rather than funny exaggerations of comic book characters. The only side character that I thought was pretty funny was Jason Alexander as the no nonsense editor-in-chief of the tabloid news show… or paper, I forget which.
Taken as a superhero movie, the fights were awful, the costumes were awful, and the characters were awful. Taken as a comedy, all that awfulness didn’t translate to awfully funny, it was just… how do I say this without sounding repetitive, awful. If you’re a fan of In Living Color… go watch In Living Color. I just don’t really have anything good to say about this movie at all. Even the music seemed out of place, it was kind of nice to hear some old school hip hop music, but a lot of it was made for the movie and wasn’t very good, and besides that it didn’t seem like it was mixed well. I’m not usually one to pay attention to sound design or anything, but when the music started it just seemed to come out of nowhere and tried to take over the scene. Anyway, I’ll be taking a look at The Meteor Man for Tuesday’s review on Valentine’s day which is a lot funnier than this movie. Until next time this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.