Friday, April 08, 2005

LA Times review, and my related essay on British and American humor

Nikki Finke, of LA Weekly, has the folowing to say about the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy UK trailer. The one she reviewed was the "About movie trailers" one, listed as "Movie Trailer #2" on the HHGTTGOnline trailers page:

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: This movie trailer satirizes movie trailers,
but it’s too clever by half. The arch British humor isn’t of Monty Python
quality. Sure, sci-fi geeks know about Douglas Adams’ classic book, but the rest
of the audience won’t have a clue what this incoherent trailer is hawking. It’s
like a dog’s whistle that someone heard, but not me.

I take this with a grain of salt, however, as movie trailers aren't necessarily an accurate representation of the movie. There have been plenty of times when a trailer was great, and then the movie was horrible, and the opposite is true in many cases where the trailer looked hilarious, and then upon watching the movie, I realized that the only good jokes in the movie were the ones featured in the trailer.

There is one truth in her review, though. British and American audiences don't necessarily like the same things. British humor has historically been perceived as dry and/or needlessly cerebral by American audiences. Perhaps this is a simple case of cultural differences, or perhaps we Americans are so overloaded by the major networks' sitcoms that we simply tend to prefer our humor handed to us with an accompanying laughtrack.

I guess that's one of the concerns on the minds of the producers... Will American audiences be turned on by the sort of joke that you might not get until 5 minutes later, only to find yourself laughing out loud for a few minutes over it once it finally hits you?

I say yes. I have faith in my fellow Americans that we're not a bunch of trail-erliving, ballcap-wearing, cold beer drinking rednecks, but ultimately, time will tell. ;)


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