It was watchable, and may even have had some point, though don't ask me what it was. Even among the film critics who loved it, what the movie is supposed to be about, or if it's even supposed to be about anything, seems to be debatable.
Me, I don't have time for a movie that isn't about something.
But, hey, if a movie being about something isn't crucial for you, if you can enjoy a movie just for the great acting or the brainy dialogue, or the interesting scene sets, then you'd probably like "The Grand Budapest Hotel".
But unfortunately, on the night I saw it "The Grand Budapest Hotel" had another problem going on.
Now, those of you who've seen "The Grand Budapest Hotel" know that it's one of those arty, independent comedies that usually run in the arty, independent movie theaters that show arty, critically acclaimed, film-festival-winning, independent or foreign films that people like me like to go see.
Sometimes one of these arty movies will make it so big on the arty circuit that it will break out into the mainstream, as "The Grand Hotel Budapest" did, then lots of people will go see it.
Which is beside the point.
Anyway, the problem I'm talking about is when you're trying to watch one of these highly-acclaimed arty comedies and a good portion of the audience feels the need, from the opening scenes of the movie, to laugh loudly, uproariously and constantly, when most of the scenes aren't that funny. Or that kind of funny.
The comedy in a movie like "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is esoteric. It's subtle. Or poignant. Or cerebral. Or dark. Or sweet. It's not Will Farrell doing fart jokes.
But this crowd will crack up as if every scene is Will Farrell doing a fart joke.
I believe the people who behave this way do so because they've read all the buzz about the movie and they've listened to National Public Radio and heard the film critics' rave reviews of the movie, and how it's a witty, clever, brilliant comedy.
So, I believe, they force out laugh after laugh to impress upon the rest of the audience that they get it. I think they must think that if they don't laugh at every scene then somebody might think they're not getting it, or if they hear somebody else laughing then they'd better laugh, too, so that nobody thinks they're not getting it. It can spread through an audience like a virus.
Do you know what I'm talking about? It's kind of annoying.
Other examples of movies that I can think of that have elicited the
laughing-too-much-when-it's -not-that-kind-of-funny syndrome are "The Full Monty", "Life is Beautiful", "Death At A Funeral", and "Reefer Madness" which wasn't a comedy, but a serious but misinformed cautionary film made in the 1930's to warn parents about the evils of marijuana. People laughed so much at "Reefer Madness" that I wondered if half the audience had come into the theater stoned.
Oh well. The only fortunate thing about these over-laughers is that they never keep it up for the whole movie. After about an hour in they've all quieted down. I figure it's because they've tired themselves out from all the forced laughing. Then from that point the rest of us can finally enjoy the movie.
Or not enjoy the movie. But we can do it in peace.