A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
There is a certain kind of humor I will always identify with Bob and Ray. Most of their material is based on "normal" situations: a sports interview, a world cruise, a routine police search for a whale lost in Brooklyn.
They approach this material in two ways. Either they play the scene absolutely straight ("We have a few promising leads and we think we can turn up that whale by tomorrow, Mr. Ballou"), or they slowly and logically work themselves out on a limb of pure fantasy ("Good gracious! A woman, apparently thinking the door was in service, has gotten into it and brings this whole World Championship Revolving Door Race to a startling and unexpected conclusion.")
This sort of humour isn't necessarily funny in itself. The audience must supply an attitude toward the material. When Bob and Ray had their radio program years ago, they would supply lines like "Now Gabriel Heater will do his Sleepeze commercial." Period. Either you found that funny or you didn't. In any case, you couldn't possibly explain its appeal to someone else. "Bedazzled," Stanley Donen's brilliant new film, is a similar case.
It stars the British comedians Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, whose function in England is similar to Bob and Ray's in this country. After appearing in the "Beyond the Fringe" revue they starred in the "Not Only . . . But Also" series on British TV and followed it with other programs, commercials and now "Bedazzled."