Back to School (1986) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
isn't much difference between the humor of Rodney Dangerfield and the
humor of Groucho. Both of those classic American icons specialized in
pricking the artificial bubble of the idle rich, and the pompously
Groucho was free to admit that it was reverse snobbery in his case, a combination of his superiority and inferiority complexes, best summed up in his famous assertion that he would never join a club with low enough standards to admit him. So he took great snide pleasure in all of his famous screen humiliations of Margaret Dumont, who acted as his permanent foil and stock society dame.
I'm not sure what made Rodney inherit the mantle. Maybe the same kind of thing. He's a working class guy who never really felt like he belonged to a lot of the parties that invited him, I suppose, and he also felt genuinely superior and inferior to the educated and idle rich that crossed his path. He was rejected a few times himself, I guess, because he didn't really get a career going until he was 40. Rodney even felt like he failed at show business. Twice, in fact! He quit comedy the second time, at age 28, to become a paint salesman, and he didn't get back in show business until a dozen years later. I guess he really didn't get any respect.
Whatever the psychology behind it, he's the active leader in most laughs at the expense of the country club set, having exercised this schtick in films, in his act, and even in convenient cartoon format (remember him as the lost Burns on The Simpsons?)
|This is one of his best revenge fantasies. He plays a successful clothing store entrepreneur whose son wants to drop out of college. Rodney knows the value of a good education, even though he never had one, so he agrees to go to class side-by-side with his son in order to help the boy stick it through.||
wouldn't it be nice to be a successful self-made billionaire and go to
the university? When he goes to a bar, he brings along a mafia guy to
protect him from bullies, and he hires Oingo Boingo to play at his
beer blast. He has a dorm room that looks like the Playboy Mansion,
has NASA write his astronomy papers, and actually hires Kurt Vonnegut
to write his paper on Kurt Vonnegut!
In a typical Rodney twist, the English teacher tells him that the author of that paper knows nothing about Vonnegut, so Rodney tells Kurt that he's going to stop payment on the check, and they tell each other to go fuck off. The part of Vonnegut is played by the real Kurt Vonnegut, by the way, although he only has one line. (The rest is Rodney talking on the phone to an unseen, unheard Vonnegut)
If you like Rodney's schtick - "I'm a regular guy with a slightly nasty streak toward the pretentious" - he does it as well here as he ever has.
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