Thursday, 16 December 2010


Hopscotch Entertainment
Out on DVD and Blu-ray January 6

Two completely different comedies releasing this week where the only (tenuous) link (other than distributor, Hopscotch) is their political subjects i.e. gay parenting and suicide bombers. Lisa Cholodenko's THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (co-written by Stuart Blumberg) may not, on the surface of things, seem like a political film but by depicting a gay family as not unlike any other family (i.e. two parents, two kids), with all the inherent strengths and weaknesses, is still (sadly) a somewhat radical act, even in the 21st century, and especially in American filmmaking. Made for under $5 million, Kids is all the more impressive for boasting an impressive cast (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as the couple; Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson as the kids; and Mark Ruffalo as the sperm donor “dad”) who all bring their A games. Bening (and probably Ruffalo) will score an Oscar nomination but for me, it is Moore's performance that is the film's best (and the Lead!).

FOUR LIONS is an entirely different political beast, one that makes light of a very serious subject: suicide bombers. Too soon, some may say, but the best comedy pushes the boundaries of taste and Chris Morris's fly-on-the-wall look at four of England's dumbest potential martyrs will have you laughing, cringing and tsk-tsk-ing in equal measure. Yes, the would-be-bombers are Muslim but that's not the point. It's extremism – and a warped variety at that – which is under the microscope here: there is a marked difference between faith and blind devotion, and stupid is as stupid does. And while Morris, and writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, who have links to Armando Iannucci, responsbile for one of 2010 best comedies, In The Loop (Armstrong co-wrote that screenplay), may not be as precise in their aim as that film, the jokes hit their target as often than not.

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