A Futile and Stupid Gesture Review

That's all. The title is self-explanatory.


A Futile and Stupid Gesture is the story of Doug Kenney's involvement in the rise of National Lampoon and his subsequent film career. While Kenney was a comedian (an incredibly funny one) there was an inherent tragedy to his story, whether his childhood woes or drug addiction later in life, he had an interesting story that was ripe for a big screen telling. But don't get your hopes up that this film does his complex story any justice because it doesn't. Rather it trades the incredibly rich story that is Kenney's life for some half-assed attempts at comedy that undercut the already half-assed attempts at drama. The movie just isn't funny and almost always sabotages itself by wanting to be "fun" and "not take itself too seriously" and while the sentiment may be admirable and along the lines of what Kenney himself would have preferred, it does nothing but drain this movie of any promise it has. On top of all this, the movie feels incredibly low-budget, while that isn't always a bad thing, in the case of this film it just makes everything come off as cheap and meaningless. It's a shame that a film with this much talent can end up coming off as something that was cobbled together in 10 minutes (a cast that includes Will Forte and Domnhall Gleeson in the lead roles). While there may be some material in the film that gets at least one or two chuckles from the viewer, there isn't a single moment that feels emotionally engaging or affecting in the slightest; and with a story as interesting as this it makes the pain of its mediocrity sting all the more.

Al Pacino Rating: