I can relate to the title character of “Laughing Boy,” which could be why I liked this funny, cutting and imaginative film. There are some great lines and all the characters are people you know, so what is wrong with it? Well, our hero, Cody (Brazil J. Grisaffi), is an a*****e and is sometimes a bit too much to take in such large doses. What does that say about me?
Cody is forced by his wife, Judy (Anne Quackenbush), to attend a corporate party. He would rather be anywhere else, but Judy sees this as a perfect opportunity for him to promote. As soon as she tells him to be on his best behavior, the audience knows what is going to happen. Grisaffi still makes the movie entertaining to watch, however. He throws out witty one-liners on everything from masturbation to a******s, and his little speech on televangelism is right on the mark. Unfortunately, his character is always on. Even when he’s being serious you can tell there’s an insult or pun caught in his throat. After a while it becomes irritating. You want to like this guy. You feel for him because you’ve been stuck in the same situation, and you know he’s surrounded by morons, but at the same time you want him to give it a break just so you can catch your breath. This problem is slightly forgivable if only due to the fact that movies like this aren’t being made anymore.
In Hollywood’s golden years, dialogue and screwball situations were the key to any good comedy. Characters traded barbs like kids exchanging porn web site urls. It was fun to watch and hard to keep up with if you were slow. “Laughing Boy,” which was adapted from a play, captures that era and adds a new feel to it by incorporating animation (courtesy of Stone Soup) and fantasy sequences that fit smoothly into the story. It also doesn’t take the easy way out by making Cody a little more lovable … but that was the very thing needed to send the film over the top.
Despite Cody’s assholism, I do hope to see him in another feature. Maybe next time he can actually wait ten minutes between crass observations. Then again, maybe not.