‘He’s Way More Famous Than You’ Movie Review – Flat Farce
There is more than one way to skin a cat has always been a really weird saying. I only bring this up because there is more than one way to judge (critique, review, whatever you want to say) a movie. Judging it against other movies is widely used – although it’s generally unfair – but sometimes it’s better to judge it against what it’s “trying” to be. In the case of He’s Way More Famous Than You, the only justification for its existence is the fact that it’s trying to be a farce.
“Trying” is still the key word.
The plot starts back in 2005 with the premiere of the “indie masterpiece” The Squid and the Whale. For what it’s worth, I do agree that Noah Baumbach’s critical independent film is a major hit. Anyway, on the red carpet, Jesse Eisenberg meets up with Halley Feiffer and they pose for photographers, realizing that this is the beginning of their careers. They are about to be household names.
Fast forward to present day. Eisenberg (or Mr. Facebook) is a household name. Feiffer is not. He’s Way More Famous Than You is the highly exaggerated and completely absurd meta story of how Feiffer is trying to hold on to the little stardom she still has from 2005. She’s living a life where she expects everything to be handed to her, while drinking and living like a madwoman.
For those unfamiliar, a farce is a movie that throws reality, logic, and probability out the window. Instead, it’s about creating a comedy out of extraordinary (and completely unlikely) circumstances. Therefore, it handicaps half the criticisms that could be rained down on the film. Now audiences can’t use terms like “unrealistic” or “impractical” as a criticism.
However, you can still use the definition of farce against this particular movie because of one key word: comedy. No matter how absurd the plot gets (and believe me, they test the limits), He’s Way More Famous Than You doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of comedy.
Even though it includes Eisenberg, Ben Stiller, Ralph Macchio, and Vanessa Williams, the cameos and pokes of fun at Hollywood fall flat.
The film is directed by Michael Urie, and his self-referenced involvement is evident from the get-go. It’s written by Feiffer and Ryan Spahn. It’s tough to lay too much of the blame on the script when they genuinely tried to make it seem both farcical and meta. This aspect is at least interesting, even if meta is slowly becoming cliché.
I can dig and dig and still only find a couple excuses for He’s Way More Famous Than You. Besides hiding behind the farce genre, it at least tries to poke fun at an industry that is narcissistic and petty. However, the entertainment (read: humor) just simply isn’t there. Maybe it boils down to sense of humor, and maybe I missed the boat, but I tend to think this isn’t a movie for a whole lot of people.
He’s Way More Famous Than You opens in limited release this weekend.
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