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Thursday, February 22, 2007


Coining-a-phrase time, folks. I'm identifying, and naming, a film genre of relatively recent vintage:

The "mustache movie."

I'm sure "Reno 911!: Miami" is hilarious. (I'm in no rush to see it; I'll probably catch it at my brother's in six months after rehearsing with The Burners.) I really don't know a thing about it. But when I saw the trailer with all those guys in sunglasses and mustaches (and even one guy in what looks like hot pants), it reinforced a pattern I'd been noticing for a few years.

That movie "Anchorman"? That movie "Dodgeball"? They're all about the bad hair and the uncool clothes.

So this is how I define a "mustache movie": Comedies of the '00s About Guys Who Think They're Cool But Are Really Dorks Who Wear Bad Hair and Clothes Vaguely Reminiscient of the '70s and '80s.

The clothes: sunglasses, wide lapels, tight shirts, flared trousers, clog shoes. The hair: kinky perms, mullets, hairy chests, sideburns and, usually, mustaches. The kings of the genre: Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell.

So here's a list of "mustache movies": "Zoolander" (2001), "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" (2004), "Starsky & Hutch" (2004), "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" (2004), "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" (2006), "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" (2006) and the aforementioned "Reno 911!: Miami" (2007).

Are they funny? Only when they're written well. A bad mustache cannot carry a movie. ("Anchorman," for example, STUNK.) Any good movie, any good television series, any good anything -- first and foremost, it's thanks to the WRITING. Valerie Harper once told me something I have quoted ever since: "If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage."


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