Friday, August 17, 2012

Good Morning Vietnam (1987)

Vietnam War Movie #5 (War comedies are a rare breed – please click the link to read my review of Catch-22)

Synopsis: Mork goes to ‘Nam.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Manic comedian Robin Williams shakes up 1965 Saigon in the Academy Award-nominated role the critics agree he was born to play – irreverent, non-conformist deejay Adrian Cronauer.”

What Did I Learn?: You can accomplish anything in Vietnam by bribing people with extremely small sums of cash.

Really?: 1) Isn’t Robin Williams a little old to be playing a bottom-of-the-ranks Airman? And did he volunteer for military service or was he drafted? And why does Garlick (Forrest Whittaker) insist upon addressing him as “sir” when they’re basically the same rank? 2) So wait... Cronauer’s buddy, Tuan, insists he leave a GI bar just seconds before it’s blown up, and Cronauer never suspects Tuan might have had something to do with it? 3) I’m still not sure how Cronauer is able to play rock music after Lt. Hauk orders him not to do so, or why he only gets suspended rather than court-martialled for reading censored news. 4) So, Cronauer is humiliated and drummed out of the military, and the best he can say is that Sgt.-Major Dickerson needs a blowjob more than any other white man in history? Sorry, but that isn’t funny – it’s lame.

Rating: There are two types of people in this world: those who find Robin Williams’ unique brand of rapid-fire, stream-of-consciousness stand-up comedy to be hilarious (if you’re in this boat, you’ll love Good Morning Vietnam), and those who find Williams to be an obnoxious buffoon. I’m more in the latter category, so this movie left me cold. Good Morning Vietnam isn’t a bad film, but it often seems as though Williams inhabits a totally different movie than his co-stars (they act, while he ad-libs and “performs”), and the scenes of him teaching English to a group of Vietnamese don’t mesh well; they laugh at awful jokes, and the viewer wonders: “is that supposed to be funny?” 6/10 stars.

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