Screwball Odds & Ends
This is the ultimate Blake Edwards screwball comedy. Most of Edwards’ comedies contain elements of classic screwball, certainly always slapstick. Films like The Pink Panther, The Great Race, and even Victor/Victoria qualify as terrific films that use the best of all comedy elements. Edwards even has a later film entitled Blind Date that is an over-the-top and dark screwball comedy. But 10 is a small masterpiece of insane comedy and slapstick.
Here, the beautiful girl causing all the trouble (by just being mindblowingly sexy with a corn-row hairstyle) is Bo Derek. And the slapstick prize goes to the film’s star Dudley Moore. By 1979, he certainly was an expert at this genre. (Let’s not forget the original Bedazzled!) And speaking of “Julie Andrews! Julie Andrews!,” Andrews herself is on hand, providing fine support. She also adds excellent contrast to Derek and some much-
needed rationality for Moore. This film also doubles as a classic sex comedy, but since sex doesn’t change much from generation to generation, this film holds up marvelously!
When listing the best recent screwball comedies, it’s easy to overlook a great favorite, so my apologies to Blake Edwards and Dudley Moore.
In fact, since Peter Bogdanovich’s re-introduction of the screwball comedy with What’s Up, Doc?, the last 50 years of cinema have been laced with all kinds of related comedies. Some are screwball-like, some are “drug comedies” or contemporary
“sex comedies.” Some are great “genre spoof” comedies like Spaceballs, High Anxiety, or 21 Jump Street.
Here’s a comprehensive list of the many other truly wonderful screwball-comedy-like films that also deserve a mention:
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Blast from the Past
50 First Dates
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
In and Out
Isn’t It Romantic
My Super Ex-Girlfriend
Weekend at Bernie’s
All of the Mel Brooks genre spoofs like Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, and High Anxiety.
Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor I & II, Coming to America, and Bowfinger.
Will Ferrell movies like Talladega Nights, Anchorman, and Blades of Glory.
Chevy Chase movies like Funny Farm and the “Vacation” series.
And last but certainly not least . . .
Any of Tyler Perry’s “Medea” movies. They are all outrageously inventive and wonderful.
So, grab a “screwball” and a highball drink, and look at the world in a whole new and topsy-turvy way. Between all the great comedies from Hollywood’s Golden Age and the contemporary comedies of the last 50 years, you’ll have months and months of laughter at your disposal, so live, love, and laugh with the best!
Gerard Alessandrini is a Tony Award-winning writer/director of musicals, best known for the long-
running musical satire Forbidden Broadway and the Hamilton spoof Spamilton, both of which
have been performed in theaters around the world. He has been the lyricist (and sometimes
composer) for over a dozen musicals, including Madame X, The Nutcracker & I, Scaramouche,
and the Paul Mazursky musical of Moon Over Parador, and has won numerous accolades,
including two Lucille Lortel awards and seven Drama Desk awards. His voice can be heard in
Disney’s Aladdin (1992) and Pocahontas. He’s also written special-material songs for many
stars, including Angela Lansbury, Carol Burnett, Bob Hope, and Barbra Streisand.