Worth A Look: 86.67%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 6.67%
2 reviews, 3 user ratings
|Martin & Orloff
by Scott Weinberg
Sketch comedy is a difficult beast. It is by its own nature an episodic affair, which means you need a lot of solid ideas bouncing around to keep an audience entertained. This explains how Monty Python's Flying Circus is some of the finest comedy ever made, as well as how each successive season of Saturday Night Live grows more maddeningly inconsistent with each passing year. It's not just about comedy; it's about a LOT of good comedy.The Upright Citizen's Brigade is a sketch comedy troupe that I know virtually nothing about. I do know that there was a show on Comedy Central, but since I don't get that channel I can't really comment on how funny it is. What I do know is that if Martin & Orloff is any indication of how these arcane "Upright Citizens" ply their comedy wares, their other proejcts may indeed be worth searching out. (Note: Though Martin & Orloff features the comedy stylings of several of the Brigade's founding members, the film is otherwise unrelated to the television series...though fans of one should certainly enjoy the other.)
"The gags that work easily outmuscle the ones that don't."
"How'd you get my car?"
"I hotwired it."
"Aw, don't hotwire my car!"
"Fuck you, you're not my dad."
Martin & Orloff is far from a brilliant piece of cinema, but it is a generally successful series of barely-connected sketch pieces, all of which deal with the relationship between suicide-failer Martin Flam and his bizarre new shrink, Dr. Eric Orloff...many of which are very funny indeed. The plot basically follows the two knuckleheads over the course of two days as Martin yearns for a simple "session" with his wacky new therapist. There's also a lot of attention paid to a subplot involving Martin's strained work environment that culminates with three children dressed up as spare-ribs who must rely on a hulking man's massive weiner to save them from a death by dipping sauce. Like I said, wild stuff.
If the movie fails to stand up as much of a cohesive whole, at least there are several isolated bits that earn big, hearty laughs.
"Hey Keith, do you mind if we have a session?"
"Meh. I don't care if you guys fuck each other in the ass."
The movie clocks in at around the same length as a regular episode of Saturday Night Live, only it's a lot more consistent with the chuckles. An early sequence involving Martin's introduction to softball is genuinely hilarious, a running gag about one character's prediliction for defecating in people's sinks works surprisingly well, while the principals deliver most of their banter in witty, droll and well-timed bursts. It's obvious that these guys are serious about their comedy.
"This is NOT our session. My session was at 12:00 this afternoon!"
"Oh, I'm sorry I had a softball game!"
You'll find a few familiar faces popping in and out, such as Amy Poehler, Andy Richter, Janeane Garofalo and the eternally-freakin'-funny David Cross. But the movie rides upon the shoulders of Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh, and the pair have their schtick honed down to a science. Visionary filmmakers they might not be, but these are two astute laff-merchants. H. Jon Benjamin also steals a few scenes with some great shock-value gags.
"OK, we're going home to report the car stolen and make love."
"We're not making love."
"...watch me masturbate?"
As a calling card for a handful of somewhat obscure (yet clearly talented) comics, Martin & Orloff works disarmingly well. Sure, it's not much more than a 'sketch after sketch' presentation, but one can forgive an aimless narrative when the gags are this unexpectedly funny. If the movie seems to run out of steam towards the finale, it can at least claim that it was consistently amusing throughout, and certainly that's impressive enough to warrant a rental.
"Hey, why do they call you the hound?"
"Ah, it's sort of dumb. It's short for cunthound."If that last bit made you laugh, and it sure did on my end, you'll find a lot to like in this admittedly disconnected (but still very entertaining) little schtick flick. Like even the best sketch comedy material, some stuff flies and some stuff thuds audibly. In this one, the Upright Citizens are batting a healthy .400 and that's good enough for some darn solid larfs.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8341&reviewer=128
originally posted: 11/13/03 16:21:17