Variations on a theme

What would happen to a public relations firm if they kept providing the same solution over and over? For that matter, what would happen to any company that kept re-cycling the same old, same old?Comedy_2

Answer: they’d lose clients.

So, how do actors such as Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Steve Carell and Mike Myers keep getting away with it? And, how does Hollywood, in general, keep getting away with it?

Myers did breakthrough work with the first Austin Powers movie. But, since then? Ugh. Now, I’m seeing billboards for yet another 1960s-themed flick from Myers. This one is The Love Guru and is obviously based on the exploits of the late, and not-so-great, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Can’t these guys come up with something better?

Carell, meanwhile, is in a re-make of ‘Get Smart.‘ Gee, that sounds riveting. For his part, Ferrell re-cycles the same basic character in movies covering ice hockey, basketball, weddings and god knows what else. But, new? Original? Nope. Not from Ferrell. And, not from this group. And, yet, Myers, Stiller, et al, are the leading lights of the Hollywood comedy genre.

It’s sad that they consistently re-cycle mediocre content. It’s sadder still that Americans accept such mediocrity.

So, here’s my question: the business world won’t accept re-cycled drivel. And, Hollywood’s a big business. So, why are they the exception to the rule?

6 thoughts on “Variations on a theme

  1. I agree with Brian. The studios are in business to make money, so we aren’t likely to see any decline in most of the formulaic garbage that comes out until the box office receipts start to slow down.
    You can hardly blame Ferrell though. I’m sure those movies are fun to make (especially since the casts are almost always essentially the same group of friends), and all of the millions of dollars he’s pulling in would probably remove any issues any of us would have with not producing more complex works.
    To his credit, however, he has released a couple of dramas that were outside his comfort zone in the past couple years. I actually found Stranger Than Fiction to be a pretty solid film.

  2. Perhaps you’re right, Esther. Give the people what they want. And, they clearly want more of the same pabulum. C’est la vie as we Quebecers like to say.

  3. it’s like ice cream – who loves it – people zero to 100 – same with movies – bigger audience – give the masses what they want – some hate it most love it! mass market/less segmented – my opinion

  4. Point taken, Brian. I guess we have no one to blame but ourselves. Mainstream Hollywood will take risks if, and when, the public stops patronizing the garbage it churns out. I wonder if there’s a Will Ferrell of the independent film world?

  5. Interesting post….. Jim Carey used to do the same thing and finally tried to get out of the box (sometimes jumping back in). Adam Sandler has also gone a little further afield with limited success. I guess the real problem isn’t the “big business” in Hollywood, it is the American Consumer that supports and funds these reruns with ticket sales.
    Note that guys like Leslie Nielsen, Chevy Chase, Cheech and Chong and others who did similar stuff in the 80s and 90s have now ridden off into the sunset. Only so many times you can see the same character over and over.
    Chris Farley RIP, though.