Making comedies is no laughing matter. According to Workaholics actor Adam Devine, making a comedy movie in today’s market is harder than ever, and he thinks he knows why. During an episode of the podcast This Past Weekend with Theo Von, Devine said, “My theory is… I think Marvel ruined it.”
Adam Devine elaborated, saying, “I feel like superhero movies kind of ruined comedies, because you go to the theater, and you expect to watch something that cost $200 million to make. And comedy movies aren’t that. So, you’re like, ‘Well, why would I spend the same amount of money to go watch a little comedy in the theater, if I could spend the same amount of money and go see something that is worth $200 million?'”
Adam Devine admits Marvel movies are good, and hilarious even, but they’ve raised the bar so high comedy movies are priced out of Hollywood.
Podcast host Theo Von and Adam Devine lamented the current state of comedy films, pointing out that the number of comedies released in theaters has dropped sharply in recent years. As fewer comedies are made, there are fewer opportunities for great ones to emerge.
On top of that, Marvel movies are funny. Even Adam Devine admits that a talking raccoon in a movie is hilarious. Few would ever describe Marvel films as comedies, yet they supplant the need for funny films for the sake of humor.
“I feel like superhero movies kind of ruined comedies, because you go to the theater, and you expect to watch something that cost $200 million to make. And comedy movies aren’t that. So, you’re like, ‘Well, why would I spend the same amount of money to go watch a little comedy in the theater, if I could spend the same amount of money and go see something that is worth $200 million?'”Adam Devine
According to Adam Devine, comedies now have to disguise themselves as action films to compete with the big-budget competition. “You really have to go action, action, and then it’s a comedy.” But to him, his latest comedic effort avoids that trap, blending comedy and action more seamlessly.
Adam Devine stars in the Netflix original The Out-Laws, which hit the streamer July 7. The film features Devine as a bank manager whose soon-to-be in-laws turn out to be, you guessed it, outlaws. When the bank robbers find themselves $5 million in debt to a ruthless criminal, Devine teams up with his new family to help pull off a bank heist like none other.
The film dropped with poor reception among both critics and audiences. Despite the miss, Adam Devine is a modern comedy staple with a body of work that proves his prowess. Based on his interview, he is also a student of the form.
“You really have to go action, action, and then it’s a comedy.”Adam Devine
The Out-Laws may not be a comedy classic like Superbad or The Hangover, both of which are the type of movie Devine and Von pine for, but Adam Devine understands that not every movie will be.
He used Old School as an example. The 2003 Will Ferrell comedy became an instant classic, but there are a couple dozen 2003 comedies no one remembers that came out alongside it. With fewer comedy films in the pipeline, the odds of making the next Old School go way down.
Adam Devine does not plan on giving up. He lauded Netflix for taking more risks than their traditional studio counterparts. He believes that people still want and need comedy, despite what studio executives may or may not be willing to take chances on.
Devine will continue his journey for great comedy films in Fixed, Sony Pictures Animation’s upcoming R-rated tale from Samurai Jack and Primal creator Genndy Tartakovsky. He is also set to star in new episodes of his Pitch Perfect spin-off Bumper in Berlin, and in the animated comedy series Captain Fall.
Marvel is solely not to blame for the decline of comedy movies, but Adam Devine may have a point. Mega-budget films have been crowding smaller movies out of theaters for several years. The entertainment industry has undergone seismic shifts recently, and those shifts are still happening. It may just be a matter of time before the movie comedy makes an epic comeback.