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MOVIE REVIEW: Four Lions

Suicide bomber parody is not bad enough to be a bomb

Four Lions

Four Lions

  • Four Lions
  • Adeel Akhtar as Faisal in "Four Lions."
  • Four Lions
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I was excited to see Four Lions, the first film by Chris Morris. I had seen some of his The Day Today show on BBC and it was funny.

Of the three writers that worked on this film, one gave us the funny In the Loop last year.

Talk about a let down.

This story of British jihadists planning to become suicide bombers just doesn’t work. Perhaps it would’ve worked as a TV parody – the way those British folks gave us the hysterical Rutles in the early 1980s.

I think this would’ve worked better as a short sketch on a TV show. In fact, David Letterman has done short bits with suicide bombers and Osama bin Laden that were funny.

I’m not somebody that thinks suicide bombing doesn’t lend itself to humor. I think anything can be funny.

Dr. Strangelove is a classic. The Producers did songs about Nazis. Funny.

This movie reminded me at times of This is Spinal Tap, but without all the good jokes. They were Three Stooges with camcorders and angry catch phrases. One of the guys reminded me of Gareth in the original Office, but again, without all the laughs.

I’ve never been a fan of South Park, but the movie they made (Team America) had hysterical jokes involving terrorists. So it can be done.

A few of the scenes work. When one is telling the other to eat his SIM card, and he asks if he can cook it first.

More often, it was scenes that didn’t work – like when one of them does a rap and quotes a rapper. That’s a joke that’s been played to death (no pun intended).

Oh, and here’s another joke that’s been played to death. Terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohamed spends two hours looking for a costume that won’t make him look fat on camera.

Really? They think that joke would work? Gary Shandling did that well on his fake TV show. Heck, Family Guy even did a 10 minute “outtake” from an Osama bin Laden filming that was funnier than this entire movie.

Another problem is that we just can’t get into these characters doing and saying the things they’re doing. Fine – you want to make them bumbling idiots. The problem is, would suicide bombers have these types of conversations? For parody to work, it has to be believable on some level. I can imagine someone yelling “There’s no fighting in the war room!” in Stranglelove. Or a producer on Broadway writing a dance number for Hitler, hoping it flops. I can’t believe the antics going on in this, though.

If a person is willing to die for their cause, I don’t imagine they talk about a lot other than the final goal. Instead, I see a guy having breakfast with a handsome family, as his wife says she’s proud of him. He tells her “These are just outtakes, we aren’t going to say those things.” The son also commends him.

I’m guessing some people would be offended by the fact that this subject matter is used for humorous purposes.

I was just bothered that it was sitcom stuff that was all poorly executed. And also the fact that it’s another movie critics are praising.

It’s slapstick silliness that doesn’t have enough laughs to even warrant me telling you to wait until it’s on video.

Looking for comedy in the muslim world might be possible, but it wasn’t with these inept suicide bombers.

I’m giving it a D.