Super Bowl LI will be the stuff of legend, but the commercials during the game? Not so much.
I can’t say that I saw every commercial broadcast during the game, of course, but the ones I did see weren’t very memorable. Basically, in this Super Bowl as in other Super Bowls, the commercials fell into two main categories: the tedious “story” ads that hit you over the head with a message, and the ads that are supposed to be funny. (There’s also a third category of weird, one-off ads from companies that simply want to get their name out there during the Super Bowl, even though there is basically no chance that 99.99% of the viewing audience will ever purchase their product or service. This year, the Morgan Freeman ad for Turkish Airlines aptly represents that category. Turkish Airlines? Really?)
The enormous Super Bowl audience endures the “story” ads, and accepts the perverse notion of large corporate sponsors lecturing us on the proper way of thinking about something, in hopes that the ads that are trying to be funny will make us laugh.
This year . . . not so much. I like seeing Melissa McCarthy slammed around as much as the next guy, but her ad was symptomatic of the flaws that seemed to infect all of the wannabe funny ads — a thin premise that gets beaten to death and tries way too hard. You sit and watch them, kind of shake your head, and marvel that this is the best that a huge ad agency and a million-dollar commercial buy can do. I didn’t see anything clever or original in a way comparable to the classic “Doberhuahua” ad from a few years ago, for example — and because we could all use a hearty laugh these days, I’ve linked to it below.
Who knows? Maybe a symptom of aging is that you think the commercials during past Super Bowls are better than the current crop — but I doubt it.
I’m sure Hollywood is forever searching for the perfect date movie: one that pairs the rich emotional themes of love, friendship, and overcoming challenges that are found in the typical “chick flick” with the crass physical comedy and vulgar humor that characterizes successful “guy movies.”
Bridesmaids is the latest effort in that direction, and it’s pretty good. The ladies in the audience get to see a woman whose life has run off the rails struggle, for the most part unsuccessfully, to be a good maid of honor for her lifelong friend while at the same time trying to deal with her recent failures and choose between the nice guy she has just met and a jerk who uses her for sex. The guys, on the other hand, get to see a distressed woman take a dump in a sink and a hyper-aggressive tennis match where the competing women are hit in tender parts by kill shots, among other instances of low brow antics. What a combination!
Kish and I went to see the film last night, and members of the audience of both genders seemed to enjoy it. Kristen Wiig is excellent as would-be maid of honor Annie, and she and Maya Rudolph, who plays her lifelong friend Lillie, have real chemistry. Rose Byrne is totally believable as Helen, the perfectly coiffed, super-rich woman who becomes Annie’s arch-rival for Lillie’s affections, and Melissa McCarthy is hilarious as the plus-sized, plain-spoken, unpredictable Megan. The other members of the bridal party are Wendi McLendon-Covey as Rita, an unfulfilled mother whose home life looks like a living hell, and Ellie Kemper of The Office fame as the repressed Becca.
Bridesmaids isn’t going to win any Oscars, but it’s worth the price of admission if you are looking for laughs on a weekend night.