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girls, season two

what i watched last week

One, Two, Three (Billy Wilder, 1961). I didn’t much like this comedy “classic”, but I was willing to blame myself as usual for not getting comedies. But once I read all of the rave reviews about how great and how funny One, Two, Three is, I wanted to barf. The gags come fast and furious, and James Cagney works his ass off. The problem is, the gags are hoary (a word I’ve often wanted to use). They might have been funny once, but it’s hard to believe people were still laughing in 1961, much less 2013. (Sample jokes: “We have emergency meeting with Swiss Trade Delegation. They send us twenty car-loads of cheese. Totally unacceptable... full of holes.” “I forgot he doesn't wear shorts. … No wonder they're winning the Cold War!” “Any world that can produce the Taj Mahal, William Shakespeare, and striped toothpaste can't be all bad.”) This stuff assaults the viewer for 108 minutes, and all I can figure is people are so exhausted by the end that they assume they must have had a good time. There are comedies that elicit laughs by being intentionally dumb in clever ways. One, Two, Three treats dumb jokes as if they were the pinnacle of wit. The result is so much worse than something like Top Secret that I can barely consider them to be the same genre. #919 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of all time. 5/10.

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