12 Comedy Directors Who Have Lost Their Way
David WainWhere They've Been: Wain comes out of the sketch comedy world, having helped create The State back in film school. His collaborators followed him through a career that moved in between film, television, stage and internet work, though Wain's craft never really changed. His first film, Wet Hot American Summer, remains an iconic comedy that mixes a creepily-accurate dedication to period detail mixed with what would become Wain's trademark disdain for plot. Follow-up The Ten instead devolved into a series of hokey comedy sketches that feel like a tremendous missed opportunities, and while he showed a remarkable level of restraint and control on Role Models, he was taking over after a sizable chunk of the film had been completed by another director (Luke Greenfield). Wanderlust followed, an intermittently funny piss-take of New Age lifestyles that seems to want to break off into sketch territory.
Where They Are: Wain's got the ear of the industry, particularly its comedians who all want to work with someone who favors the silly over the sentimental – that caustic style recently almost netted him the Ant-Man directing job. But his latest, They Came Together, might be a low-point. The film is entirely made up of one joke: that romantic comedies are dumb, passé , and in some cases racist and classist. It's enough to carry five minutes of an internet short (it probably has), but stretched to feature-length, it's deadly. Wain would no doubt find this hilarious, as his films tend to push the boundaries of taste and annoyance. But at this point you kind of wish he'd make either a real movie (or show, maybe), or make something so ridiculous it's borderline experimental in its disregard for audience conventions.
Where They're Going: Wain was long ago attached to Too Cool To Be Forgotten, but there hasn't been news on that front in years. As of now, Wain has nothing lined up, though he's sure to call his buddies in The State to reunite soon.
This article was first published on July 23, 2014 and was last updated on August 1, 2014.
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