A Futile and Stupid Gesture ★★★

Going into the film, while I was (obviously) aware of National Lampoon as an entity, I knew nothing about Doug Kenney or who he was. So, in many ways this was a learning opportunity as much as it was a piece of entertainment. And I will say, given that context, I laughed quite a bit and found its loony style to be appropriate given the behavior of Kenny for most of the film.

However, there's something about the third act of the film, where Kenney finds himself psychologically in a state that works at odds with the film's whacky style. The fundamental approach to the film turns an irreverent man into a gentle caricature. And to make it even worse, the reveal of the final 10 minutes (again, historically I had no idea) renders the film's framing device borderline offensive. It's kind of insane to be honest.

So....this is conflicting for me. I love the first half of the film and found Will Forte absolutely hilarious. The meta-commentary throughout is brilliant and the film's energy gives it a spark that is wonderful. But then you get to that final act and it fizzles out hard, at least it did for me.

I can only recommend the film if you know absolutely nothing about Doug Kenney. Even then, it's still just a mild recommendation and brace yourself for how it all crystallizes.