Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Clowns aren't funny. They are horrible, terrible monsters deserving of our disgust and contempt. Their twisted faces have produced nightmares in the dreamstates of the innocent for decades. The filmmakers behind "Funland" have found a solution to this problem which allows them to succeed in making a clown humorous. Mental illness! David L. Lander (Squiggy from "Laverne & Shirley") plays Bruce Burger, the mascot for the local Funland amusement park. Bruce shows a level of commitment to his job that borders on the pathological. When a new owner takes over the park and starts making changes it sends him into a downward spiral. Bruce has conversations with imaginary people, many of whom have been dead for many years. His evenings are spent with everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Humphrey Bogart, not to mention the recently murdered former owner of Funland. As the park prepares for reopening, his plans turn towards homicide. 

 The screenplay comes from power duo Bonnie and Terry Turner, years before they would have their careers launched by scripting studio comedies like "Wayne's World" and "Tommy Boy." There is a mean streak and a subversiveness here that disappeared completely from their work after this point. The grossly bottom-line driven mentality of the corporate world is savaged throughout the runtime, something that probably proved difficult to do when writing for a major television network during their time on "Third Rock from the Sun." Nonetheless, it is fortunate for all of us that they were unleashed and raging hard at this point. The result is a comedy that has a certain amount of heart and warmth without sacrificing the sting of its bite.

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