Books and Movies Reviews

Comedy used in O`Brother Where Art Thou

The film O Brother Where Art Thou is a comedic adventure based on the Odyssey by Homer, to whom credit is given. The comedy in this film differs from many other movies. In films such as Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back or any given Jim Carrey comedy the elements of comedy are very obvious and easily laughed at. However, in O Brother Where Art Thou the comedy leans towards being more sophisticate and stereotypical, often being very subtle. While there is the slapstick of two men beaten with a club by John Goodman, who plays a one-eyed Bible salesman, it never fully contributes to the overall humor of the film.
The attack of Big Dan played by John Goodman is not the only example of slapstick in this movie. Others include the gang unexpectedly falling out of a train the group is attempting to hitch a ride on. Ulysses, played by George Clooney, seems to be the object of slapstick pain continually, as in another example in this film he fights the seemingly nerd like suitor to his wife and is horribly beaten. The comedy is further escalated in this scene when most of the pummeling takes place off camera as the viewer sees the battled over wife watch the brawl.
Fights and falls are, however, not the real substance to the comedic value of this film. Most of the hilarity occurs in subtle satire, mostly exaggerated stereotypes, and often evasive irony. Examples of this irony include the group being saved by their own casket, which they were told to share. Another, more subtle example, is the devil-like man preparing to kill them is in turn killed by water Pete and Delmar believe was sent by God.
And while the bible salesman is killed by a burning cross at a KKK meeting, this is not the only incident of racial situations in the film. The stereotype given to Blacks in the 1930's in demonstrated by the blind radio manager, who would not let the group play if they were mostly "negros".Another stereotype is the crazy incumbent …


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