Doug Kinney is one of those names only familiar to people deep inside a specific realm of fandom (in this case, comedy geeks), though he was partly responsible for some of the most enduring comedy of our time: co-founder of the National Lampoon (and writer of much of its early magazine and radio content), and co-writer of the screenplays for Animal House and Caddyshack. The former film is the source of the title of A Futile and Stupid Gesture, the new Kinney biopic, which is premiering at Sundance just before landing on Netflix next month.
But this is no conventional biopic. The director is David Wain, member of The State, director of Role Models, Wet Hot American Summer, and its subsequent television spin-offs, so the approach is thankfully irreverent. You get a taste of that in the film’s first trailer, which features two actors playing Kinney – Will Forte as a young man, Martin Mull as the older man he never became – and a fair amount of winking self-awareness (particularly that last gag). Check it out:
A Futile and Stupid Gesture co-stars Domnhall Gleeson, Emmy Rossum, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Lennon, Matt Walsh, and best of all, Joel McHale as Kinney’s frequent collaborator Chevy Chase (with whom McHale reportedly had a bit of a contentious relationship during the run of Community). The movie hits Netflix on January 26.