Battling Butler

Battling Butler ★★★

Buster Keaton's boxing comedy. S'alright. Accounting for the time it was made, you can't be too critical of long patches during which nothing funny happens, or is being slowly built up, or when wackiness occurs but in a dated way that doesn't pop anymore. Just look for parts that can still strike the funny bone 94 years later, like when he goes out on a lake standing inside a small paddle boat and aims his long giant rifle at a tiny wading duck to shoot it point blank but it keeps dodging him, or that one of his famed boxing opponents bears the blunt nickname the Alabama Murderer, or all the juxtapositions between his rich man's lifestyle and the gritty sports environment he's supposed to inhabit (the closing shot pays this off particularly well). It's medium tier Keaton, not quite as stunt heavy or ambitious as his more memorable stuff, but still able to produce some laughs.