They just don't make films like this anymore.
I watched The Lady Eve last night. (This DVD came from the same friend's collection which produced National Treasure, so I suppose he's forgiven). I'd forgotten how much I love the Screwball Comedy. Zippy dialogue, pratfalls, zingers and one-liners, innuendoes and out the other. In a word: fun.
I know many people would count Eve among the best of the Screwballs. I suppose they're right, though I like others, such as Bringing up Baby and especially His Girl Friday better. (Though that may have more to do with the fact that were I able to become any actor in Hollywood history, it would, without a doubt, be Cary Grant).
Comedy gets a bad rap, even from me. Marooned on a desert island with a choice of only dramas or comedy films to keep me company, I'd pick drama and never look back. Maybe if more comedy films were like the Screwballs of yesteryear, I'd feel differently.
Most people feel the same way. They don't know it and would probably tell you exactly the opposite, but the sorts of films we honor show that we value drama over comedy. (Interesting that the emotions of agony and ecstasy are prized above those of levity and happiness).
I also might value comedy more if it weren't for the fact that what we call comedy today is little more than cinematic gutter vaudeville.
It's enough to make me ask, what would a modern Screwball comedy look like?
I'm imagining something directed with the flair and fun of Steven Soderbergh but written in the sort of whip-lash, too-smart-for-its-own-good, blink-and-you'll-miss-it pen of Aaron Sorkin.
Now that would be a comedy worth seeing.