Second Fiddles, Playing Leads

Second Fiddles, Playing Leads

Film Review

Hi, I'm a supporting character in a comedy movie. I don't play a major part in the film, but you can bet that at some point I'll make you laugh by:

a. Spitting out a witty line;

b. Getting caught in an awkward situation;

c. Getting hit in the nuts.

It's a tough life for me. But now, after years of playing second fiddle, someone has made a movie full of supporting characters and without a single lead.

That movie is "Accepted."

You're thinking that a movie with all supporting actors like Justin Long (co-star in "Dodgeball"), Jonah Hill (co-star in "40 Year Old Virgin") and Lewis Black (weekly co-star on "The Daily Show") can't be that great. That all of them are hilarious in their own right, but they can't carry a movie. Well, Long had a chance to prove that theory wrong. Finally, one of us is stepping into the lime light.

It takes him and the rest of the cast a while to get their comic timing down, not having a strong lead comic like Vince Vaughn or Steve Carell around. But once they do get into a groove, you'll realize that supporting actors can keep the funny stuff working. Like, for example, a running gag about fictitious college South Harmon Institute of Technology ( get it) that has legs thanks to the enthusiastic supporting players around Long and Hill.

Not only does "Accepted" bring two second-stringers into the limelight, but it introduces new ones like Adam Herschman whose "unstable herbs" line is delivered with superb timing and panache. Makes a supporting character proud to be one.

Plus, the director knows how to handle Lewis Black: place a camera in front of him and let him rant. The best supporting actors play to their strengths and don't try to break too many barriers; Black does this and to hilarious ends.

Take it from a supporting character: it doesn't matter that Long sort of loses it during his closing monologue, and that the film itself really doesn't try hard enough.

What matters is that this ramshackle cast of supporting actors really shows that they can be funny. You need a good lead to make a great comedy, but we — the proud supporting characters — can make a good one on our own.