Director: Nick Peet
Lazy Susan is, quite extraordinarily, the worst comedy film you might ever see. In that it’s only joke – pretty much the literal lone ‘joke’ – is that the female character of Susan is played by a man. That man is Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) who also co-wrote the movie. And that joke is hilarious, don’t you know, perhaps especially because this was green-lit and happened in 2020.
Broad comedies (and that’s a pun, yes) where men frock-up for laughs are not new. They are in fact so old that they basically don’t happen anymore, apart from in the world Tyler Perry invented (Madea).
And though it is hard to get past the fact that this film seems to exist purely so Hayes, a fairly talented improviser and character actor, could put a dress on and play a wallflower type, we should try and look at where and when this film attempts to be funny.
Basically Susan is one of cinema’s most unlikeable characters. She’s in her 40s. A bore. Unmotivated. She has her rent paid by her mother, bludges off anyone and doesn’t want to do anything. So far, so bad.
We are supposed to follow her on her ‘journey’ – which involves being rear-ended by a creep from the gym who hits on her and they couple and it’s probably hilarious to see a man on top of a man when one of them is in a dress.
There are gross-out gags that belong in those early 2000s/post-American Pie world of frat-ish comedy. You know, power-chucks and bathroom giggles. Oh god. Seriously.
Even the idea of Susan being in a musical duo that plays a cover of Blister In The Sun is served up without anything funny about it at all. We are supposed to laugh because she plays the snare drum with her foot whilst singing and attempting to play the flute.
Lazy Susan is one of those films that makes you pine for the Leading Man Years of Rob Schneider. It makes you sure that Adam Sandler is comedy’s great genius. It makes you wonder, in short, why they forgot to pack any jokes. How could it make it through script edits and production-list ticks to arrive in this shape?
Also, there’s a desperateness to the marketing of this film where it’s mentioned in that Susan is a cis white male. We’re not meant to be confused for a second that Susan is trans. And therefore it couldn’t possibly be offensive right? No. This is a powerhouse acting job by Sean Hayes apparently. He has transformed into the character. He is Susan. And that, we’re supposed to think, is very funny (except it’s not). And this was made in 2020.
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