2013, Movies

Hell Baby (2013, Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon)

This is a really dumb spin on The Exorcist crossed with The Amityville Horror – or some kind of possessed house movie, I haven’t seen that one in a while – but which manages to be pretty funny, all the while being fairly obvious. If you’ve seen Reno 911, it’s basically the same kind of comedy – it’s made by some of the same people, so you have been warned.

I have long been a sucker for dumb comedies, since before I can remember. If a movie is lazy in terms of plot, characterization and any number of other things, but makes me laugh, I can be quite forgiving. Growing up, I loved Airplane! and The Naked Gun movies, among other, far worse examples. I am a sucker for a dumb movie if it makes me laugh.

This movie is not well made. The plot is, as I said, stolen from the ‘possessed house’ horror movie subgenre combined with an exorcism plot. Many of the jokes have nothing to do with the plot and just rely on your willingness to laugh at stupid behaviour or, in one extended sequence, people behaving high. Some of the jokes run far too long and there is even multiple callbacks to one of the jokes that runs far too long. (The infamous eating scene, which is really three scenes, somehow.) Also, there are multiple ethnic stereotypes used in lieu of characters.

But despite all that, I laughed pretty frequently. Sometimes I knew I was laughing at something really low brow, or something reused from somewhere else, but sometimes the jokes were actually pretty decent. But, for the most part, they were just dumb, and I was in the right mood.

There is no world in which this is a good, well made movie. But I laughed enough that I feel like I can’t be too critical, as the reason it exists is to make people laugh, and laugh I did.


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