Backlash is an interesting thing.
It’s always interesting when something in the cultural zeitgeist becomes so successful that the tipping point occurs and people flee the bandwagon they were just crowding. Sometimes, it’s because we just get sick and tired of hearing about a particular thing or event. Sometimes, it’s because, as hipsters, it annoys us when something we used to like becomes popular in the mainstream.
Either way, backlash is almost always unfair.
It’s an old adage of comedy, and I wish I knew who coined it in order to give due credit: Only the truth is funny.
In other words, any sort of material that isn’t based in real, genuine human behavior by definition can’t be funny.
So, when Jonah Hill, playing a cop going undercover as a high school student, has his cover blown by a friend of his mother who a) knows he’s a cop and b) knows he’s working undercover yet continues to blab his real identity to the teenage drug dealers he’s trying to infiltrate leading to Hill shoving her into a department store display, it’s painfully unfunny. The punchline is as cheap as it gets (old lady falls down), but the scene could work by simply making the old lady oblivious to what’s going on. But, the script (by Michael Becall with a story credit to Hill) has established this old lady knows Hill’s character, so her insistence to keep blathering about his undercover status is behavior only motivated to deliver a gag. No human being whose spinal cord is attached to their brain would ever behave this way. It isn’t truthful. And, it’s painfully unfunny.
I’ve always thought the sports media and the entertainment media had something in common: they both frequently seem to have a general dislike for the subjects about which they’re reporting. It’s a common thing to see ESPN or the E! channel roll out the snark for athletes and entertainers. Legitimate criticism should always be fair game, but there are times when fairness and objectivity get cast aside in favor of a good old-fashioned pile-on.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW