This is the bottom line I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been sort of picking up this vibe with the advance word, but here it officially is–the film critic for the Orlando Sentinel reviewed Ben Stein’s anti-evolution movie, “Expelled,” and, bottom line, said:
“It just isn’t particularly funny.”
That’s all that matters. End of story. It’s not entertainment. Film is first and foremost an entertainment medium. Anything on film that isn’t entertaining is an attempt to drive a square peg into a round hole. Michael Moore’s films are entertaining. “Super Size Me” is entertaining. “Flock of Dodos,” according to all the major reviews, is entertaining. Even the Al Gore movie was largely oriented towards showing that he can actually be non-boring and even somewhat entertaining.
Ben Stein is an entertainer. He is known, not as a singer, dancer, or musician, but as a man who is funny. If he’s made a movie that isn’t funny, its the same as Fred Astaire making a movie in which the dancing is lousy, or Barbara Streisand making a movie in which she sings off key.
I had heard about “the Ben Stein movie,” over a year ago when a friend in Toronto told me her best friend’s boyfriend was a cameraman on the movie. I had tried to warn everyone, “if this thing turns out to be entertaining, the evolution world is in trouble.”
It isn’t. Crisis averted. Thanks to Ben Stein. We can now throw this on the scrap heap alongside the growing mountain of boring global warming documentaries. And folks, warn your children, don’t use film to try and educate people. It’s an entertainment medium.
To err is human. To be unfunny when you’re supposed to be a comic actor is to totally screw the pooch.