Planes, Trains and Automobiles ★½

I’ve never really been a fan of comedies from this era. First of all, some of the jokes have aged like old milk. For example: “they don’t wanna share the bed, cuz gay. Get it?” 

But even the jokes that don’t offend my millennial sensibilities are just lame. I don’t need all my comedy to be high brow, but I do need it to be funny. Because of the predictable nature of the plot, you see all the jokes coming a mile away. Only a couple of moments genuinely surprised me and got a laugh as a result. It’s all hammed up to the nth degree without any of the other building blocks of a good joke. There’s never a setup, punchline or twist. It’s just, “Okay John, for this scene you need to be REALLY annoying. So make the most obnoxious sound you can muster, alright?”. The joke is just supposed to be, “boy that’s loud and gross, am I right?”, I guess? 

Above all else, the formula of this kind of movie kills me. You get the gist within the first 15-20 minutes of the movie: everything that can go wrong does, and then some. But then you have to endure another hour-plus of it. It’s just repeated variations on the same theme. None of it feels organic. You can practically hear the writers scheming every time a new scene starts. The characters have no agency, they’re just twisting in the wind of these stupid inconveniences. It doesn’t make me laugh, it makes me frustrated.

Like I said, there were some good moments when I genuinely laughed, but the rest of this film is so painfully unfunny to me that I honestly can’t understand why it is lauded as one of the greatest comedies of all time.

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