Laughter Without Borders

Laughter Without Borders
One thing of note about the Laughter Without Borders program is that most of the shorts included are featured in other programs. Dinner Date and Sex with Hot Robots are in the Slap 'N' Tickle program, the Drunk History shorts are in the Celebrity Shorts program and Seeds of the Fall is in the Award Winners collection. And while the Scandinavian titles included, along with the Drunk History selections, are highly amusing, I'm not convinced about some of the other titles, given that I saw much more amusing stuff elsewhere in the festival. Regardless, there are enough laughs to be had to fill that comedy void.

Things start off with mediocre satire Customer Support, a film that features a woman calling a help desk when she can't figure out how to open her front door. The comedy comes from human stupidity and the insanity of social etiquette, but the actual laughs are minor. It's much better than Dinner Date, however, which is just a bunch of gender role crap for people that live in a world of stereotypes.

Luckily, there are two shorts from Sweden's Patrik Eklund, featuring Goran Forsmark and Anki Larsson. Both Instead of Abracadabra and Seeds of the Fall show the exasperated couple dealing with the insanity and oddball characters that unfold around them. This is the stuff of quiet comic genius and must be seen.

Similarly hilarious are the aforementioned Drunk History shorts, which most people have seen online, featuring Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, John C. Reilly and Don Cheadle. Essentially, people get drunk out of their minds and tell stories about Abe Lincoln and Thomas Edison while the actors perform what is said. Sure, seeing someone projectile vomit after drinking a bottle of absinthe is gross, but hearing Tesla call Edison a dick for electrocuting animals is hilarious.

False Start does Groundhog Day with a break-up, while Sex with Hot Robots plays out as a mockumentary about robot maids turned sex toys turned world dominators. Both provide minor amusement, if no actual chuckles. This is much like Homeland Security, which is about a man jealous of his fiancée's bachelorette party. The only difference is that the latter short looks considerably amateurish.

And while the idea of hearing Dock Ellis's story of pitching a no hitter on acid sounds funny, Dock Ellis & the LSD No-No is nothing of the sort. But there's trippy animation, granted.