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Plain and simple FX’s new series Archer delivers the irreverent comedy that was experienced during the glory days of Warner’s adult swim. Not since the days of Sealab 2021 (another Adam Reed project) has a show come up with some of the most ridiculously funny and brilliantly absurd comedy as does Archer. Having seen the first five episodes of the series its no wonder why the network ordered more, aside from ABC’s Modern Family, Archer is the frontrunner for the best new comedy of the 2009-2010 season.

Sterling Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) is a secret agent for ISIS, a freelance spy agency run by his mother, Malory (the always funny Jessica Walter), and works with a cast of characters including his ex-flame Lana (Aisha Tyler), her new beau, and ISIS comptroller Cyril (Chris Parnell), and secretary Cheryl (Judy Greer) who changes her name from episode to episode.

From the very beginning the roots of the aforementioned adult swim classic, and Reed’s follow-up Frisky Dingo, are readily apparent, and that’s what makes Archer such a pleasure to watch. For an animated show to not be about the animation is always a risk, but the story, dialog, and just overall fun of the series clearly make up for it. Granted the animation has come a long way from Reed’s reusing of frames from Sealab 2020, but it has always been about the story, the situations, and the gratuitous violence that has brought viewers in.

The style of the show, set in a contemporary world, but with throwbacks to the spy movies of the 1950’s and 1960’s is excellent. More than a few Bond gags make their way into the early part of the season, including ridiculously named villains with quirks built in. Archer himself is a bumbling moron who, at times, seems to only have made it this far because of his overbearing mother, but does show flashes of how good he can be in later episodes.

Being on FX gives the animators and producers some more leeway on what they can show and what they can say, and while it’s usually shameful to push the envelope for the sake of shock, that’s what really works here. No show has done better cutaways since Family Guy, and even FOX’s cash cow could take a few notes.

In the end Archer comes together in a great mix of classic characters, hilarious dialog, visual gags, throwback jokes and a sense that we haven’t learned anything in the last 22 minutes, but we had a damn good time spending it with the ISIS team, even if our codename is Duchess.

Spawning from The Jason Ellis Show on SiriusXM’s Faction, Taintstick’s Six Pounds of Sound is everything you expect from a collection of guys with nicknames like “Shaft Burn”; and “Tussinwolf”;. Fans of the show will immediately know what each band member is known for and lead singer Jason Ellis manages to hold a key throughout the album, changing up his sound and delivering to his fans a great little package of metal farce mixed in with catchy lyrics and some sweet guitar riffs.

Most of the songs on the album have been featured on the radio at one time or another during the production of the album, yet some are new to even the most die hard fans and bleed into a Steel Panther-like mentality of “death to all but metal.”; How else do you write an album and get through performing it with titles like “Sir Eagle Cock III“;, “Motodick“;, and “Monkeys of War“;?

The variation in the tracks is surprisingly vast with the hard hitting title track, and the aforementioned “Monkeys”; encouraging you to pump up the volume whereas softer tracks like “Apple Juice”; fall into an almost Blink-182 low-key melodic sound where you’re asked to pay attention to the ludicrous lyrics and laugh a little bit.

Laughing is certainly something that you’ll do as you make your way through the disc especially on “Sir Eagle Cock III“; an Irish-like jig that tells the story of a faithful noble bird, who was never blessed with genitals or “I Love Tiger, I Love Fifty“; sung by Ellis’ daughter which is basically the title repeated ad nauseam (Tiger is Ellis’ infant son and Fifty is the lead singer’s dog). However the biggest laugh comes in the form of a clean version of “Fuck Your Face“; included as the disc’s last track in which every word is pretty much skipped and only the backbeat remains.

Taintstick’s debut may only suffer from one thing and that’s the inability to be taken seriously in the long term. Fans of the show, of which this reviewer is one, will immediately have a lot to love out of the gate, however casual fans may find it hard to grasp on to anything without knowing the backstory. Was Six Pounds of Sound just a one-and-done release or will we continue to get new music from the band?

Regardless of the long term aspects, the thirteen tracks we do get are worthy of repeated sampling and should keep you laughing well into the next year.

Where FX has excelled in the drama game the network has always seemed to struggle on the flipside of the programming coin in the comedy genre. Save for the wildly popular It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, shows like Starved, Testees, and Lucky have always missed the mark for various reasons. The network recently unveiled a new slate of original programming including several comedies and dramas, the first of which is the fantasy football-themed The League which continues the network tradition of vivid characters based on excellent writing.

Breaking away from the sight-gag laced Testees, The League centers on an ensemble cast of characters all joined together by friendship and their desire to one-up each other in fantasy football. The competition is nothing to be taken lightly as characters influence each other in their work and home lives, all to get Peyton Manning.

The writing is sharp in the first two episodes with more than a few laugh out loud moments and more than a few hearty chuckles strewn about. What really works is the believable, relatable characters all pulled from the sitcom stable including the recently separated, charming guy; the clueless friend who drafts retired players; the married dude who has to watch porn in the garage while working out. Well, you get to expand the normal staples when you’re on cable.

A few standout moments are Taco’s (Jon Lajoie) wholly inappropriate song at a pre-teen’s birthday party, you know where its going from the very beginning, but there’s something about harmonizing and explaining various sexual positions that really makes you laugh. Nick Kroll’s Ruxin and his desire to win the fantasy league so bad he kidnaps an “oracle” leads to another stand out, laugh out loud moment that looks really, really bad, but you never realized implied pedophilia could be so funny.

The show has a semi-serialized nature to it, at least in regards to the first few episodes, and the “league” aspect is used (so far) as merely a framing device for a few jokes and as an excuse for everyone to stay together. In the end, however, The League is a very funny entry into FX’s already stellar lineup or originals, as long as the first season stays Sunny and avoids being Starved the future looks bright.

Zombieland is exactly what you would expect from its title and marketing, it’s a movie, about a land full of zombies, there’s no time for back-story, explanation, or exhibition about how, why, where, or what turned almost everyone into mindless, feasting machines, instead we (as an audience) are simply introduced to the post-apocalypse and to a few survivors who are each searching for something, and trying to stay alive.

The majority of the story focuses on Jesse Eisenberg’s Columbus (everyone is named after a city to keep from developing emotional attachments with real names) who is trying to get back to his namesake hometown and see if his parents are still alive. After Jesse introduces us to his “Rules” for staying alive in a zombie infested land, he eventually meets up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) and the two of them eventually happen upon Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and a tenuous alliance is formed.

There are stories of an amusement park where zombies don’t roam free, the girls are trying to find it in Los Angeles and reclaim some of young Little Rock’s youth while Tallahassee is running from his former life and Columbus listlessly wonders after being left with nothing.

The film is lean, mean, and incredibly well written and well acted. Harrelson in particular looks like he’s having the time of his life working on this picture as a redneck with a penchant to crack wise, kill everything in his way, and paint the number “3” on every care he’s able to steal. Eisenberg also excels playing a Michael-Cera-lite role of the fumbling everyman who eventually gets the girl and turns out to be more than he thought he could be.

First time feature film director Ruben Fleischer busts onto the scene with a love for beautifully crafted action sequences and slow motion cuts. His opening credit sequence is amazingly well done and immediately gets you in the mindset for this film.

The most surprising thing, like Shaun of the Dead before it, is that the combination of guts, gore, and guffaw is perfectly presented, easy to follow, and, most importantly, perfectly executed. Hearty belly-laughs are interplayed with sight gags and even a little bit of emotion as the four survivors grow closer.

Zombieland may very well be one of the best films of the year and easily one of the funniest, everyone owes it to themselves to partake in the experience and remember to keep up on the cardio an avoid the theater’s restroom.

NBC’s long list of great comedy shows can add another entry in Community, which is aptly being called The Office in Community College. The series doesn’t present itself as a documentary like the aforementioned workplace comedy, however the cast of characters is every bit as memorable and the writing is top notch throughout the pilot.

The series focuses on Jeff, played by the very funny and criminally overlooked for years Joel McHale (The Soup, The IT Crowd), the series centers on the happenings of a group of students from all walks of life at Greendale Community College. From the opening speech by the school’s dean till the end credits role there’s a lot of clever moments even while some of the problems borrow from the sitcom cliché handbook.

Jeff is a washed up lawyer whose degree from “Columbia” has been brought into question. Now he needs to secure a degree from the United States to prevent himself from being disbarred. Our introduction to him and Danny Pudi’s Abed is just one of the episodes shinning moments. Jeff wants to get with Britta (Gillian Jacobs) so he organizes a Spanish study group which grows to eventually include several other students including Chevy Chase’s Pierce whose grandiose stories could only be true if he owned the college and was just milling about.

While a lot of the pilot’s jokes hit, only accentuated by the wonderful cast, the predictable story about boy meets girl, boy lies to girl, tries to cover it up, girl finds out, etc. is so overplayed that the ending of the episode is pretty much known from the very beginning, however getting to the end is the fun part and that’s where Community is able to keep your interest for 22 minutes.

While it remains to be seen if Community can break out like The Office, or if it will disappoint like Parks & Recreation, but when the season starts in mid-September there will be at least one person firmly tuned in.

Sandra Bullock hasn’t done a whole hell of a lot noteworthy since Speed, and let’s not even go into the debacle that was Speed 2: Even Speedier. Still, throw her in a romantic comedy with a good looking dude, and the date crowd is sure to flock in, even if the film is passable at best in the eyes of the normal viewer, a good love story knows its demographic, and gratuitous shots of Ryan Reynolds side-ass is sure to keep the ladies pining for more.

Luckily for everyone involved, especially Reynolds who doesn’t need to get pigeon-holed into roles like this so early in his career, The Proposal actually turns out to be a decent chick-flick that’s appropriate for both guys and girls and usually together in the theater. This is the quintessential date movie of the summer, and while some might argue that 40 foot robots are more romantic that a 40-plus year old Sandra Bullock, the film still succeeds in throwing all the romantic movie clichés into a pot, stirring them up, and serving up an appetizing dish that leaves you satisfied.

Bullock plays Margret Tate a cut-throat editor in chief of a New York publication that has everyone cowering for fear when she arrives for work. Her “secretary” is Andrew Paxton (Reynolds) who left his family in Alaska to experience the big city and become a writer. As we’ve all seen in the trailers, Tate is to be deported to Canada and seeks a phony marriage to Paxton to stay in the country legally with the plan to eventually get divorced. As you would expect there’s a grand helping of comedy in the center of this reheated storyline, some of it is great, some of it not so much, but what works, works well enough to keep you entertained for two hours.

Eventually everyone finds out what the wedding is about, Margret leaves Alaska to be deported, Andrew realizes he really does love her, totally for real this time, and goes after her, and supposedly they live happily ever after. The closing credits feature a montage of Andrew, Margret, and various other cast members answering questions at the behest of the Immigration Department about Andrew and Margret which proves to be the funniest part of the film by far, much like The Hangover’s end sequence sealed the deal on that comedy masterpiece.

Notable standouts are Betty White playing the same character she’s played for the better part of the last decade (see: Lake Placid) as the old-lady-slash-comic-foil and Oscar Nunez (The Office) as the versatile Ramone who steals every scene he’s in.

As mentioned before, The Proposal doesn’t set out to do anything new, mostly treading ground already worn bare by years of insufferable dribble, but with the charismatic Reynolds in a leading role, and the ability to envision Bullock as a self-centered bitch, you make a likeable pair that is almost worthy or repeat viewings.

For the past two and a half years jokes have been made round the dinner table about a certain part of the male anatomy in a cubic container and now the full CD from comedy troupe The Lonely Island finally drops with a collection of SNL digital shorts, new original recordings, and a whole lot of laughs.

The Lonely Island is like an unholy combination of Weird Al and The Beastie Boys (as per our own Executive Editor John Simons). The trio makes clever work of lampooning the hip-hop genre on nearly every track sans for a few pokes at electronica, R&B, and rock. Every SNL Digital Short from “Lazy Sunday“; to the most recent “I’m On A Boat“; can be found here including Natalie Portman’s foul-mouthed rant on her life.

There are highs and lows to the disc, a majority of the songs are pre-packaged for TV coming in under three minutes and trying to fit in as many jokes and lines as possible and seeing what sticks. The advantage here is that the lesser tracks are over relatively quickly, however the better tracks, with more hooks end far too quickly.

Some of the tracks, especially “Dick in a Box“;, with videos available come off clever, but the visual accompaniment added a little bit of spice that is sadly missing. Stand-outs on the album, that weren’t heard on SNL, include “Sax Man“; featuring Jack Black, Andy Samberg’s “Like A Boss“; and the ludicrously gross at times “Boombox“;.

Disappointments like basically all the interlude tracks and the never-going-to-be-funny “Ras Trent“; and “Space Olympics“; hamper and otherwise tightly crafted disc. Most of the tracks that don’t feature Samberg but instead only co-writers Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone seem to come up short. Even after the shock value of tracks like the euro-pop-farce “Jizz in My Pants“; wear thin the finely crafted lyrics and timing will still be present so while the initial knee-jerk is gone, the cleverness will remain.

The surprising aspect of the CD is the sheer number of guests present including Justin Timberlake, Portman, Norah Jones (singing about Chex Mix), Black, T-Pain, E-40, and SNL-alum Chris Parnell. This alone gives each track a unique selling point picking up some of the music industries biggest stars and dropping them into something completely out of their normal element.

Incredibad has its moments, and the songs you’ve grown to love over the past few years will certainly keep you entertained as well as a few new tracks here and there, but overall the disc falls short of comedic greatness.

In the current landscape of the comedy world where it seems everything is made by a small group of actors and directors its nice to see a film with some new faces, even if one is a adolescent boy with a mouth like a sailor and an old friend we nearly forgot about. This friend would be Seann William Scott, long missing from the comedy world after the American PieRole Models trilogy, the actor can pull off sweet and charming while channeling smarmy and pretentious and does it with ease here in paired up with Apatow-alumni Paul Rudd.

Rudd has long been known in genre films as the go-to-guy for supporting roles focusing on disenfranchised, sarcastic spouses looking to reinvent themselves in a younger generation (see Knocked Up) but he’s never had the opportunity to carry a film, even if he steals every scene he’s in. Role Models is Rudd’s breakthrough leading-man role and, along with Scott, the banter between the two energy drink salesmen sentenced to community service is believable and, most importantly, funny.

After crashing a Minotaur-skinned truck into a statue Danny (Rudd) and Wheeler (Scott) are sentenced to community service as “Bigs” who befriend a couple “Littles” in the form of Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson) and Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Ronnie constantly belittles and makes Wheeler’s life miserable as he trudges through 150 hours of service, but eventually the two bond as Wheeler passes on tips about how to stair at boobs without getting caught. Danny has a harder time connecting with Augie who constantly involves himself in LAIRE not to be confused with very similar LARP.

The script is by the numbers for the most part, each of the grown men come to realize the error of their ways after exiling themselves from each other and their Littles. Danny has a subplot about attempting to reconnect with his lawyer ex-girlfriend and Wheeler just has a love obsession with KISS which plays into the final act of the story.

The comedic timing of all those involved is excellent, which makes the, otherwise, average plot flow much more cohesively and stay interesting even after you can spot plot revelations a mile away. The jokes are fresh, for the most part, but its all about the delivery and Scott’s everyman, slacker attitude plays well with Rudd’s high-strung, sarcastic view on life.

While many will mistake and attribute the film to Judd Apatow due to his stable of capable actors being utilized here, the film never needs to devolve into gross out humor to get its point across, a rarity these days, but a welcomed change. Role Models won’t change the genre but it certainly doesn’t hurt it either.

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