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Top 5 Movies I Expected to be Hilarious….but Were Actually Depressing


Marketing is one of the essential tools of film making. You need to get your movie out there, and this is done with posters, previews, and endless talk show appearances by the stars. Sometimes in order to get people interested, the trailers have to get creative and exaggerate, maybe even lie, about the tone of the film to not scare the audience away. Today I am looking at five movies which were marketed as comedies, but really they were pretty serious drama’s with comedy bits far and between. The movies may have been good, but they sure weren’t as advertised.




I guess I can understand why having a comedian as the star of a movie would compel the studio to market a film as a comedy. But it’s so misleading. Case in point, In 1989 Ron Howard directed Steve Martin, among many others, in this family film. I mean family film because that’s what it was about, a family. The trailer had Steve Martin desperately trying to get a picture of the family with a timer on his camera, but failing causing many laughs. Well, Steve Martin is in it so it has to be a comedy. Right? Well, no. You see this was just before people started taking Steve Martin seriously as an actor. This film is what started to change people’s minds, and then the next year Father of the Bride came out and people realized he could actually do serious. By the way, I loved Father of the Bride. I actually liked Parenthood too, but man is there some serious, adult stuff in here. Yes, there are funny bits too no argument but if you go expecting a straight comedy you will be a little surprised, as I was.


#4.The Family Man

What if they took a bunch of classic Christmas films and blended then together? You’d have this snooze fest. The reason I included this one is because on the video/DVD box for the film is the word HILARIOUS! in big letters. Really? Hilarious? Man that critic must have been easy to please. Sweet and sentimental? Ok. Corny and cliché? Better believe it. But Hilarious? I don’t think so. Except for one or two moments anyway this movie is a drama, and not a very interested one at that. The real problem with this film, as has been noted elsewhere, is that the main character Jack is not exactly suffering a horrible life. This movie would have you believe no matter how successful you are, you are a loser if you don’t have a couple kids and a house in the suburbs. That’s wonderful if you do, but not having it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Bottom line, this movie isn’t funny at all unless you like laughing at tired gags which have been done to death.


#3. Good Morning, Vietnam

This is considered one of Robin Williams better movies. And you know what, it probably is. But it sure isn’t funny; in fact it gets downright depressing. Oh sure some of the bits with Robin Williams as the DJ are pretty lighthearted, but then this movie takes such a sad turn. I know, what was I expected from a Vietnam movie? I was kind of young when I saw this and was taken aback by the tone of the movie. For years I wondered if I was just naive, until I pulled a trailer up on YouTube. The trailer does make it look like a comedy romp, showing none of the sad moments in the film. They briefly show an explosion but that’s it. And believe me, there are sad moments in this film. Just because Robin Williams is in a movie doesn’t mean it’s going to be funny, or did no one see “Awakenings”? For the record, this is a really good movie and I recommend seeing it. Just expect more tears than laughter. By the way there is another Robin Williams film I could mention called Toys which wasn’t funny despite the hype, it was just plain bad.



#2.Mr.Saturday Night

I felt betrayed by this movie. Honestly. This came out when Billy Crystal was at the top of his game. Still riding high from the success of City Slickers, he actually directed this film about an aging standup comedian trying to recapture the magic he’d had in his youth. It is so draggy and boring, not to mention depressing. I don’t remember how it was advertised, but if I had know it was about a comedian whining because he wasn’t famous anymore I think I would have skipped it. Sure, the flashbacks to when the comedian was young were kind of fun and full of energy. But those flashbacks are far and between. There is a good story in this film, the acting is pretty decent, and I always remembered it for being my first exposure to Helen Hunt, but a comedy romp? Hardly. This movie is very sad. I wonder if that was Billy Crystal’s intention or did he misdirect the film? Bad directing can really hurt a movie, and man do I a perfect example for that next!




This is Robin Williams bashing day I guess. I don’t think I have ever been as pleased to see Nostalgia Critic review something as I was when he reviewed this nightmare. Unlike the other four films on this list which were good stories with occasional laughs, this movie left me with nothing. Beyond nothing, I hated this movie. While Francis Ford Copola deserves the blame for the directing, I can’t let Robin Williams off the hook. He just doesn’t even seem to be trying, which is one the things that may have hurt this film. The plot is all over the place, and the funny stuff isn’t funny at all. I know some may wonder why Patch Adams isn’t on here. I wasn’t disappointed by that film; the funny stuff was balanced pretty well by the drama. That movie isn’t bad until you realize how untrue this “true story” is. That kind of kills the fun, and the main problem with that film is Robin Williams was the wrong choice as the lead. I am going to stop here because as I noted Nostalgia Critic did a great job reviewing both these films, so rather than repeat everything he said you can watch his reviews of them if you’d like. But Jack was a huge disappointment, one of the worst films I have ever seen.




This movie is an honorable mention because for the first half or so, it’s exactly as advertised. An Adam Sandler comedy with a unique concept. I loved the idea of the remote control which can control the world around you, who wouldn’t? But then about a third of the way in, the movie takes a sharp turn into dark and damn serious. It’s really amazing to watch the film go from a silly comedy to something very depressing and philosophical. I remember almost feeling uncomfortable in the theatre as this happened, what a drastic shift to do to your audience. It’s like watching a news report on a cuddly kitten and then cutting to war footage the next second, a bit jarring. Just when you’re wondering if maybe you skipped into another movie and you’re getting ready to walk out, Adam Sandler’s character wakes up and discovers it was a dream. Then the silly comedy comes back! I actually liked the last five minutes, it’s like that moment after a car accident when you realize you’re fine. Well, if that’s what he was going for than kudos. I think that part toward the end got way to dark, especially the stuff about the father which I will not even attempt to explain or analyze here, and it’s too bad because it ruined what could have been a nice little comedy film.


That’s my list of movies which I expected to be funny but instead were darn depressing. Did I miss any?

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