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Netflix Original does not disappoint

Feb 13 • Arts & Leisure • 285

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BENJAMIN HAYLETT
staff writer

In the barrage of Netflix Original content that keeps coming our way, it can be pretty hard to find the diamonds among the rough.
One of the latest batches of movies, “A Futile and Stupid Gesture,” starring Will Forte, shines bright above all other new shows and movies.
“A Futile and Stupid Gesture,” follows Douglas “Doug” Kenney, played by Forte, from his days as a Harvard student to co-founding the National Lampoon magazine empire.
The only caveat was today no one knows who Kenney is; all we know is what he accomplished.
Although he got his start by writing comedic novels and co-founding National Lampoon, Kenney’s major claim to fame is “Animal House,” the 1978 college flick that has been touted as the greatest comedy film of all time.
Behind the veil of his great achievements, “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” shows Kenney’s struggles with his marriage, interpersonal relationships and his addictions to cocaine and other illicit drugs.
On paper, this seems to be a very heavy concept for a movie, but in practice, “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” employs a dark comedic attitude about itself that plays perfectly off the subject matter at hand.
This attitude is an extension of Kenney’s own comedic style and the balance that this provides throughout the film keeps the laughs coming, even when the movie becomes more serious.
In this way, it stands out from other movies in its genre, like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Step Brothers” that are hilarious toward the start of the movie, but become very dramatic and serious in the midst of the third act.
To curve this “third act boredom,” the film throws in a wild curveball that happens to be one of the most impressive plot twists I have ever experienced.
Forte does an excellent job of fleshing out the character of Kenney, and his hilarious and heartwarming performance allows for the audience to easily empathize with him.
The rest of the cast fills out their roles in the same manner.
Important people in Kenney’s story include Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and Harold Ramis, who are portrayed very well in the film.
Instead of finding actors who look just like who they are playing, “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” brings forth talented actors who do less of an impression of their famous counterparts, and more of an evocation, which works to the advantage of the movie.
Although this was a little jarring when it was first introduced, it never once takes the viewer out of the moment as it is clear who is playing whom.
For anyone with a Netflix account, “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” is a must see.
Great acting, a deeply personal story and gut busting humor make it a fine addition to the Netflix Original library, and I look forward to other films of this caliber being made in the near future.

BENJAMIN HAYLETT
haylett001@knights.gannon.edu

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