‘Too Many Cooks’
adultswim.com (or watch below)
There are a lot of new movies hovering around or over the three-hour mark — “Interstellar,” Frederick Wiseman’s “National Gallery” — but one of the best new things to watch runs only 11 minutes. Of course, it may feel like three hours. First aired during the 4 a.m. slot on the Cartoon Network, the Adult Swim-birthed “Too Many Cooks” is the latest to play with extreme repetition as a joke in and of itself, testing the patience and sanity of brave viewers. It’s a pastiche of the feel-good opening credits of nice ’80s sitcoms like “Full House” and “My Two Dads,” with actors freezing in a goofy pose as their name pops up. (The names, its creator, Chris "Casper" Kelly, has said, are real.) All this plays against a blood-curdlingly catchy theme song. (And the one here is chillingly spot-on. “Too Many Cooks” may run 11 minutes but the song will stay in your head for a lifetime.)
But it’s more than repetition (though that would have been funny too). It starts off as a family sitcom, turns into a work sitcom, then a cop show, then a “G.I. Joe”-style toon and later a space show. It also slowly introduces a pudgy, machete-wielding psychopath, who starts hacking up the increasingly sprawling cast. What starts off snarky turns genuinely creepy. It’s a silly lark — a goof on a bygone era of pre-postmodern cheese — that soon turns on and destroys itself in a fit of self-immolation reminiscent of Don Hertzfeldt’s “Rejected.” Of course, unpeeling this deceptively simple short’s many layers may drive you mad.
It’s a no-brainer that Tim Burton’s two-film hold on the Caped Crusader franchise would slip online right as its star is in full comeback with a movie that mocks his faded A-list status. And if you loved Michael Keaton in “Birdman,” do dig into the second one, which is not only darker but features a romance — between our hero and Michelle Pfeiffer’s thrillingly sensuous Catwoman — played out in leather and whips. The kids have to learn about BDSM some time.
You could prep yourself for the potential disappointment of the 20-years-later reunion that is “Dumb and Dumber To” by watching the original, now on Instant. Or you could revisit the Farrelly brothers’ superior follow-up — a seriously loopy road trip picture between a one-handed former bowler (Woody Harrelson) and an Amish boy played by Randy Quaid, whose bizarre financial and legal woes have kept him off screens but who at least has been killing it on Twitter.
Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge