Better Off Dead is one of the best high school comedies about the absurdity of adolescence. It presents a myriad of predicaments that could conceivably mire a typical student’s well-being–mental, familiar, financial, social, and sexual, just to name a few–and runs wild with them all for the express purpose of laying waste to the insecurities and hang-ups that concern most people during this weird time in life. Every romantic hiccup is exaggerated to disastrous dimensions; every apparent shortcoming is tantamount to total deficiency. In turn, most of these problems that might trouble a young person are revealed to be completely laughable when they are properly framed for bizarre effect: anything this ridiculous and cartoonish should not be taken seriously, and issues even remotely similar to them should, as a result, become less world-crushing. When it can’t get any worse, it can only get better, and Better Off Dead is leaps and bounds funnier than many other comedies because it’s more than willing to go to some humiliating and hilarious lows before its protagonist ascends the proverbial mountain in the end.
I love Dumb and Dumber. It’s one of my “movies to watch when I’m sick” staples, even if the “doggy bag” scene scarred me for life as a child (it was a long time before I could look at a beating heart without making a face). I totally overlooked the prequel, because, well. But the fact remains, the movie is a classic and I know it will remain untouched by the fingers of some greedy Hollywood execut–
Sorry, what was that? I… oh.