Who knows from transgressive comedy. As half of the "anti-comedy" duo Tim and Eric, he's responsible for several anarchic Cartoon Network TV series, as well as an even more gonzo big- screen feature, "Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie." He's a revealing choice, then, to play the lead in Rick Alverson's oddly compelling, sarcastically titled "The Comedy." At first, the movie seems like a plot-less succession of behavior that might be called debauchery if it seemed like anyone was having fun. Williamsburg slacker Swanson (Heidecker) and his pals (Eric Wareheim, the other half of Tim and Eric; LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy; and Gregg Turkington, better known as comedian Neil Hamburger) drink, insult themselves and others, drink some more, and repeat. Things that may have seemed edgy at 25 -- politically incorrect joking about Hitler and slavery, viewing life through a thick fog of ironic insincerity -- are, 10 years later, pathetic and sad.
It gradually emerges that Swanson has a terminally ill, apparently wealthy father, but instead of relying on an inheritance, he takes a $7.50 per hour dish washing job. (Later, he impulsively pays a cabbie $200 to let him take the wheel, so he's not all that philosophically consistent.) This is a lacerating portrait of the sort of narcissistic self-loathing that has kept educated, economically comfortable young people from achieving their true potential, from Benjamin Braddock to Hannah Horvath.
If it isn't apparent that the protagonist of "The Comedy" should be laughed neither with nor at, but rather pitied, it will become so during a harrowing, climactic scene which leaves no doubt about Swanson's lack of connection with the rest of the human r
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