Anyway, I habitually scan the credits of trailers for the writer & director of the movie. It sometimes helps to evaluate the potential of the film. I've done it for so long that I usually can lock onto the names even if the credits barely flashes on the screen. I was sneering through the Herbie trailer when it ended and I said to myself, "I can't believe this is happening again." See, the movie is written (at least in part) by Thomas Lennon & Ben Garant. I love these guys. They wrote and performed in The State and now, Reno 911, two great, funny shows.
Lennon & Garant came to Austin years ago with most of the other members of The State to perform at the late, lamented Big Stinkin' Improv Festival. I got my copy of the ridiculously useless travel guide State by State with The State signed and then saw them perform that night. At one point, the troupe moved off the stage, ostensibly to change costumes, while member Ken Marino stayed behind and chatted with the audience. Instead of leaving the stage though, the performers stopped and starting taking off their clothes down to their underwear, all while Marino continued to obliviously talk about...something, but at this point who was paying attention to him?
While the near-naked members ambled about, quietly talking amongst themselves, Marino pulled out a disposable camera and encouraged the audience to squeeze in so he could take a picture. At the count of three, he snapped the picture and on the other side of the stage, the underwear came off. Despite the long set-up, it was still a surprise. I doubt the Paramount Theater will ever again have so much exposed genitalia again. At the time I distinctly remember thinking, "Dang. The one guy I've wanted to see naked is the only one who isn't. Dang." Still, hilarious. The crowd went
Getting back to the point, I was stunned to see Lennon & Garant at least partially responsible for Herbie because it continues a frighteningly trend. These guys are also credited writers for The Pacifier and Taxi. When I saw that they'd writen The Pacifier, I convinced myself that they had authored a subversive movie that was taken away and dumbed down by the studio. Clearly I was fooling myself. I'm sure they made good money, but guys, I beg of you, stop writing vehicles for the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Vin Diesel, and Jimmy Fallon.
Hmm, I meant for this to be a thoughtful argument for smart, small comedy over bland, lowest-common-denominator crap, but it seems to have gotten away from me. Oh well.