I just finished watching this horrendous, bottom-feeder of a movie called The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It. The obvious title indicates that it's a Jason Friedberg/Aaron Seltzer-type spoof of Judd Apatow movies, plus "knocks" at several other popular movies. I suppose it goes without saying that spoofing a bunch of comedies is a troublesome idea, unless you really have something to say about them, rather than simply offering pale copies of their most famous scenes. But this movie goes below that; it's aggressively bad, stupid and vile and insulting and inept all at once. It might be the worst movie I've ever seen, except that it reminded me of two movies I saw just last year, Miss March and Transylmania, which were just as bad.
Anyway, this got me thinking about comedies. What makes a great one and what makes a bad one, and -- perhaps more interestingly -- what makes it stand the test of time? A movie like The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who... (ah, forget it) is going to age badly and quickly, but what makes a comedy age well? I also recently viewed Blu-rays of three Mel Brooks movies (High Anxiety, History of the World Part I and Robin Hood: Men in Tights), all of which had aged badly, but I also watched Caddyshack on Blu-ray, and found that it had aged well.