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The Comedy (NR)

Comedy 90 November 23, 2012
By Karina Longworth
A highly improvised fictional exposé in search of the elusive heart and soul of hipster nihilism, The Comedy stars alt-comic superstar Tim Heidecker as Swanson, a trust fund 35-year-old hanging out in Williamsburg, fucking around, and waiting for his sickly dad to die. The title is ironic, or maybe "ironic"-- the film, writer-director Rick Alverson's third feature, is basically a shock drama. Its sensibility is a hybrid of the awkward conceptualism associated with Heidecker and co-star Eric Wareheim (TV’s Tim and Eric) and the brand of another of the film's players, James Murphy, figurehead of blue chip hipster auto-critics LCD Soundsystem. Alverson's film takes the form of a kind of glacially paced, shaky-cam art project that the Brooklyn dude-bros it depicts might bike over the bridge to catch, if for no other reason than to tell chicks they've seen it. Heidecker makes a much more convincing 21st-century Arthur than Russell Brand. Chubby, bearded, beer-soaked, bedecked in novelty sunglasses and shorts, Swanson lives on a boat--because he's floating, get it?-- and runs with a crew of dudes who approach life as a starting point for real-world improv comedy. Cab drivers are repeatedly fucked with. Swanson defends Hitler mid-flirtation, and the girl still goes home with him. The gang takes an ironic field trip to a church followed by dive bar whiskeys. There's not a false note in the film, but I wonder if decades from now, The Comedy might function as a sincere snapshot-- its intended satire might be too dry, too implied, to survive the passage of time.
Rick Alverson Grace Rex, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Alexia Rasmussen, Adam Scarimbolo, Rock Kohli, Kate Lyn Sheil, Joe Mele, Kevin Townley, James Murphy Rick Alverson Jagjaguwar Films Tribeca Film

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