Random pauses and leg deodorant: the resurrection of the awkward movie character

Over the past few years, the awkward male side character has made a comeback in the movies.  What started as an obscure indie thing, most prominently in Juno, has since infiltrated mainstream cinema and in fact become mainstream cinema.

It was a hopeless novelty, off-beat and charming at first, now bothersome and annoying.  It seems as though every movie needs to have that character that walks into the room and makes an awkward grunt or a side-splitting out of place comment that’s supposed to be hilarious.  The trouble is, it isn’t.

What seems to be happening is that writers now think just because a character is awkward and says random things, this makes them funny.  Lines like “Hold on a second, I’m on my hamburger phone,” have replaced actual punch-lines.  The very notion that the phone is a hamburger is supposed to be funny, so it’s not necessary to include a joke about it.

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