Netflix has released the first trailer for the biopic A Futile and Stupid Gesture, which chronicles the life and career of National Lampoon co-founder Doug Kenney. Will Forte fills the role of Kenney, who co-founded the comedy magazine with fellow Harvard students Henry Beard and Robert Hoffman shortly after graduation, forming what would become a cornerstone of American comedy that flourished from a humor magazine into a nationwide brand. The success took its toll on Kenney, who moved to Hollywood to work as a writer on films like Animal House and Caddyshack, and subsequently developed a serious drug and alcohol abuse problem. Chevy Chase, a close friend of Kenney’s, took him to Hawaii to try and lift his spirits but had to return to Los Angeles for work. Kenney’s body was subsequently found at the bottom of a cliff, just as Chase was preparing to return to Hawaii.
David Wain, the filmmaker behind Wet Hot American Summer and Role Models, directs this larger-than-life tale, and the trailer reveals a unique spin on the biopic genre. For one, Martin Mull narrates the film as an older version of Kenney, even though Kenney died when he was younger. Moreover, Mull as the narrator directly addresses the fact that the film has a variety of actors playing famous actors, even though they look nothing like them.
It looks as though Wain is bringing his absurdist touch to the story while taking Kenney’s life seriously, and this stands as one of my most anticipated films of 2018. Luckily we don’t have to wait long as it’s set to premiere at Sundance next month before hitting Netflix on January 26th. The film also stars Domhnall Gleeson, Joel McHale, and Emmy Rossum and was produced by Peter Principato and Jonathan Stern.