Justin Long is quirky. Quirky is one of those words that gets tossed around nearly as much as edgy. Have you ever heard of an independent film or an original show televised on F/X Network that was not described as edgy? And, more to the point, have you ever actually seen a show on the F/X Network where edgy meant anything other than bad language and nudity? No, of course, you haven't. Quirky may be overutilized, but it is entirely worthy of describing the best comedy featuring Justin Long.
You may know Justin Long best for his quirky Apple Computer commercials. Or for his recurring role on the quirky Zooey Deschanel comedy "New Girl." I kid, of course. If you really want quirky, you must search out some of Long's movie roles.
He first came to attention in the low budget horror franchise "Jeepers Creepers." You can't really call that film quirky, but you could possibly get away with labeling Long's performance as such. Let's follow the directive of Mr. Greeley and head west to the Pacific Northwest.
Anyone who attended high school in the 1970s will instantly recognize Justin Long's character in "The Sasquatch Gang." This could be equally true of those who attended high school in the 80s or 90s, but I know mainly from the 70s. Heck, I once owned nothing but bell bottom pants. Don't spread that around, please. "The Sasquatch Gang" is genuinely quirky and Justin Long delivers much of the humor. Although the movie does not take place in the 70s, 80s or 90s, Long's mullet-haired loser feels like an anachronistic leftover from a time gone past. He even drives the ultimate mullet-haired loser's car: a Camaro. "The Sasquatch Gang" offers gentle humor devoid of profanity that instead draws its laughs from the literate construction of characters and story. It's not just one of the quirkiest comedies of the 21st century, it's one of the best. And Long's kinda tough guy idiot is a true highlight.
Justin Long proves his ability to bring a quirky comedy to life with his own quirky approach to humor at the opposite end of the spectrum in "Taking Chances." Here, Long's character is the hero rather than the villain and his gentle sincerity allows him to be just as quirky as his jerkiness in "The Sasquatch Gang." The movie starts out with that kind of PG innocence of "The Sasquatch Gang" but you will hear a few F-bombs before it ends. Despite that unfortunate reliance on appealing to the illiterate, "Taking Chances" basically is covered with the same patina of quirky virtue as Long spends much of the time dressed as in American colonial clothing trying to save his town's historical innocence from being corrupted by politicians and Indians.
Long's career is taking off and though it is hard to imagine him ever becoming an action hero, it has happened to quirkier actors than himself. I'm looking at you, Nic Cage. The lack of authentically quirky actors makes it all the more desirable to keep those straight on the track toward a long term career in which they add a certain something to a comedy that otherwise would be lacking. Long has carved out a status for himself not exactly unique or one of a kind, but he is certainly among a very exclusive club. And it would be nice if he keeps paying his dues and maintains membership.
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