Ava Dettling '21
After a year where comic relief was depressingly spare, my hopes for comedy in 2021 are desperate. While prospects for theatrical releases are still unlikely, the film industry is itching to get back to normal. With various new streaming services popping up, like HBO Max and Disney+, the industry might just get a chance. Whether through newly created works or long-awaited films, 2021’s comedic lineup might just be the saving grace to a horrible past year.
After a two-year hiatus, Ryan Reynolds is back with another Deadpool-esque action comedy. Free Guy follows your average, unexciting bank teller, aptly named “Guy,” as he realizes he is living in a real-life superhero video game. He goes about his painstakingly perfunctory activities as a background character, but he soon learns that Free City is set to go offline—and only he can change that. Set to release in May 2021, Free Guy will surely feed into escapist habits all the while keeping you on your toes with Reynolds’s wit. With Reynolds and Taika Waititi in the same movie, Free Guy promises plenty of laughs.
One of 2020’s many losses was the delayed release of French Dispatch, Wes Anderson’s latest installment. Like the rest of Anderson’s films, French Dispatch will be chock full of absurdist and idiosyncratic humor. While his films are not marketed as comedies, the oddity of his plots and sets certainly support his bizarro tone. Thankfully, we will be starved no more of Anderson’s peculiar humor. French Dispatch is set to finally (let’s hope) release in May of 2021. With an incredibly star-studded cast—including Timothée Chalamet, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Benicio Del Toro, Frances McDormand, Owen Wilson, and even more--French Dispatch promises quality humor. The film takes a look into the staff of the homonymous European publication as they highlight the three best stories of the last decade: an imprisoned artist, student riots, and a kidnapping resolved by a chef.
Nicolas Cage is back! Yay? In his newest film, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Cage plays himself, a washed-up actor. The film follows the out-of-work Cage as he is suddenly invited to a billionaire super fan’s birthday bash. He is forced to live up to his own legend as he reenacts his most famous characters for the fan’s entertainment. If you were avoiding Cage’s movies in the past, the time has come to face them. The birthday activities soon take a wild turn as he learns he is performing for a notorious drug lord. From CIA undercover agents to Tarantino references, I have no idea what to expect for this film—but I will have a good time finding out. I have never thought I would see a movie with Cage, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tiffany Haddish, but I guess there is a first time for everything. Too bad I have to wait until March.
As trying as this past year was, hopefully 2021 will bring some levity. In 2020, comedy deserted us, only to be found in the clashes of politics or social media. Since the former presidency has come to an end, many late-night entertainment shows, like SNL, will be forced to find new material—and quickly. I think we got a taste of what’s to come through Chalamet’s “Tiny Horse” skit. The results of long-term social distancing will undoubtedly manifest themselves in a novel form of comedy. Whatever may be in store for 2021, comedy will assuredly be around to make it interesting. Just like the survivors of the 1918 pandemic—who pounced on any opportunity to celebrate unconfined life—we will emerge from COVID-19 finding humor in anything and everything.