Daily Archives: February 13, 2014

Cracking Up (1977)

cracking up

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 2 out of 10

4-Word Review: It’s the big one.

It’s finally happened the earthquake that destroys California and leaves the entire state in total chaos. News reporters cover the destruction in a parody style and features young comic performers like Michael McKean, David L. Lander, Fred Willard, Harry Shearer and Edie McClurg at the start of their careers and doing their own material.

This film works a bit like Roger Corman’s Gas-Or-It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save it in that it has an animated opening and tries to somehow correlate mass destruction while only filming a small set piece inside a studio back-lot. Corman’s film at least had some edgy humor and a cinematic style, but this has neither. It is almost like a low budget comedy variety show with skits that have nothing to do with the main theme. The film has no pace or momentum and slogs along until it becomes utterly boring.

It takes till the final half-hour before any of the otherwise lame humor becomes even passably funny. Of the stuff that I found moderately amusing was the comedian at a roadside diner who beats up an audience member when he doesn’t laugh enough at his stupid jokes there is also a mailman who delivers a dead corpse to a couple who try to come up with different ways to make it useful. The segment where Fred Willard tries to sell a customer a mattress even though the customer thinks he is talking about his penis is okay and the commercial showing a trucker advertising the use of adult diapers and even getting out of his cab wearing one deserves some credit.

However, the majority of the stuff is so mind numbing unfunny that is becomes almost hard to believe. I started to think that the premise of the film was to make it a joke on the audience like with Andy Kaufman reading a long boring novel or the 60’s film from the Netherlands where a man gets in front of the camera and hurls insults and profanities for ninety minutes simply to see how much an audience can take before they would leave. If that was the case then this film almost succeeds and the best advice would be to skip it and not be the intended victim.

My Rating: 2 out of 10

Released: July 4, 1977

Runtime: 1Hour 15Minutes

Rated R

Director: Chuck Staley

Studio: American International Pictures

Available: Netflix streaming, Amazon Instant Video