Noises Off (1992)


Link: Noises Off

Summary: A theater director tries to direct a low-brow slapstick comedy play, but personal feuds between the actors and actresses prevent things from going very smoothly.

Thoughts: Based on a 1982 play of the same name, I thought this film was hilarious.  It’s very slapstick, people stumbling, running around slamming doors, taking swings at each other.  Similar to Clue, the humor is very corny.  But I enjoy this sort of stuff if it’s done right, and the premise for this story is perfect for the sort of slapstick that ensues: People trying to put on a play, while trying to sabotage each other’s performances, or not giving a care to how their own lousy performances might ruin someone else’s.  The first part of the film features the actors just trying to get through the first act of the play, so you can see how things are supposed to go.  In the second part, affairs have been revealed and the performers are all angry with each other, so they set out to pettily destroy each other’s performances by, for instances, tying someone’s shoelaces together so he’ll fall down on stage, or changing a prop so the actor will have to adlib something.  In the third part, the performers are so fed up with each other that they stop trying to even put on a good performance, and it’s a complete hilarious disaster.

My only complaint is that something is a bit off about the pacing of the film, and some comedic sequences are so intricate and long-winded that you lose the energy to laugh, even if what they’re doing is clever in and of itself.  It’s just too much for too long.

That said, the hilarity of the sequences that work are so stupidly hilarious that they make up for the pacing issues.  Hilarious film.  I’d love to see the play one day, if I ever get the chance.

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