Friday, June 21, 2013

Animalypics (1980)

Once in heavy rotation on cable, especially in Olympic years, Animalypics is a way cleverer than you think it should be look at the animal Olympics. Featuring the voices of Billy Crystal, Gilda Radner and Harry Shearer the film is the work of Steven Lisberger who if I remember correctly is a damn funny man.

The relatively plotless film simply follows/sends up various Olympic sporting events from both the winter and summer games. There are a few through lines such as the disappearance of skier Kurt Woofner who has gone off to find enlightenment and the romance between two long distance runners, but mostly it’s black outs and quick sketches like the Calamari Brothers Bobsledders or the elephant who does gymnastics. The humor is both slapstick and extremely clever. It wasn’t until I sat down to watch the film for the first time in about 5 or more years that I realized exactly how well written the film is. The jokes pertaining to the sports and politics and life are the sort of things that well informed sports fans with broad interests would write. The writing is also the sort of thing that we don’t get much these days namely the sort of thing that works on multiple levels with obvious jokes for the kids, clever bits for their parents and really funny stuff for people in the know.

Probably the only realy draw back to the film is that some of the caricatures of famous people will go over the heads of younger audiences, they won’t get the Kissinger reference and the Keith Jackson or Howard Cosell riffs may go over their heads… on the other hand this is a damn funny movie and I found that when it ended I started it all over again just so I can see some things that really made me laugh.

Definitely worth tracking down. (I don’t think the film has an official release on DVD however there is a fan made special edition with some explanatory extras floating around on the collectors market – See All Clues No Solutions in the sidebar)

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