“Gleefully wacky and irreverent.”

–The New York Times

“Line by line, Mr. Rudnick may be the funniest writer for the stage in the United States today.”

–The New York Times

“Deeply funny musings and adventures elevate Paul Rudnick to the highest level of American comedy writing.”

–Steve Martin

“One of the funniest quip-meisters on the planet.”

–The New York Times

“Paul Rudnick is a champion of truth (and love and great wicked humor) whom we ignore at our peril.”

–David Sedaris

“Quips fall with the regularity of the autumn leaves.”

–Associated Press

February 27, 2016

Oh My Gods of Egypt by Libby Gelman-Waxner

gods-of-egyptAs I was watching Gods of Egypt I was so dazzled that I could only think of three words: Vegas Bat Mitzvah. While the film is set in ancient Egypt, the production design is so glorious that it reminded me of the ceremony I’d dreamed of but could only approximate, when I was turning 13 at Temple Beth Lauren in Great Neck. Sure, I had lovely floral arrangements and monogrammed cocktail napkins, but Gods of Egypt is like a late-period Michael Jackson video crossed with an even whiter Oscar Nite Best Song production number.
The story follows Set and Horus, the two warring sons of Osiris, who, like deities and pudgy Republican candidates everywhere, both want to rule the world. Set is played by Gerard Butler, in a rugged style I can only term Hungover-Divorced-Dad-Yelling-At-The-Valet-Parker. Gerard is handsome, grizzled and angry about everything, which, as with so many Scottish actors experiencing mid-life angst, makes him occasionally morph into a gleaming, winged, golden creature who looks like the hood ornament on a custom Maserati.Gods-of-Egypt-The-Journey-Begins-Trailer-Music
Gerard is especially upset by his arrogant but good-hearted brother Horus, who’s played by the dreamy Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, whose name does sound like a chain of Scandinavian big-box stores. Nikolaj shares Gerard’s swarthy, sweaty, where’s-my-latte-and-my-agent-who-I’m-about-to-fire machismo. My favorite moment was when Nikolaj was introduced to the people of Egypt as, “Horus – Lord of the Air”, which made me hope that Nikolaj was about to riverdance, but instead he just strutted around in a streaky spray tan and a wardrobe of Donna Karan-style, work-into-evening leather wrap skirts. At one point Gerard plucks out Nikolaj’s eyes, which become glowing ice-blue crystals, perhaps to be mounted on Gerard’s stick shift, or dropped into Gerard’s tumbler of fancy flavored vodka.GodsOfEgypt_DOMTrlr1_Texted_HD 2861.tif
Gerard and Nikolaj also battle over Hathor, the Goddess of Love, who’s played by the slinky Elodie Yung, wearing all the Golden Globe gowns which even the Real Housewives of Anywhere deemed, “a little too bachelorette-party belly-dancer.” While Hathor can use her sultry gaze to get anyone to do her bidding, she spends most of the movie trudging through swamps and conjuring up visions of the afterlife in sand tornadoes. No one ever suggests that Hathor might be the best choice to rule Egypt; she’s like Elizabeth Warren with a perpetually bare midriff and too many bangles.
During their warfare, the gods are accompanied by Brenton Thwaites as a mortal lad, seeking to retrieve his dead girlfriend, Zaya, from the underworld; when she was alive, Zaya worked as a temp for a royal architect, and together she and Brenton inspect many scrolls filled with hieroglyphs, which resemble laminated takeout menus. Brenton is always pointing to a picture of a sacred cat and announcing, “It says that the entrance to the pyramid is right here!” Zaya is played by an actress named Courtney Eaton, and I kept thinking about how great it would’ve been, if her character had been named Courtney as well, or maybe Madison of Thebes. Brenton is adorable, but with his button eyes and his asymmetrical shag, he reminded me of both young Princess Stephanie of Monaco, and Kimmy Gribler from Full House.
Eventually everyone in this movie tries to stab everyone else with a spear, as guided by Geoffrey Rush as Ra, who wears a hefty Marin County gluten-free braid and steers a golden chariot through outer space; as I’m sure Geoffrey’s business manager informed him, when the script for Gods of Egypt arrived, “It’s a job.”
Gods of Egypt isn’t quite as lustily homo-erotic as 300, where Gerard cavorted with hundreds of other Spartan bodybuilders in swirling capes and leather Speedos, and it doesn’t have Christian Bale, glowering as a goyische, hipster-bearded Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings. But it’s still altogether wonderful, in teaching us just how difficult it is, for an actor to wear what looks like a plastic Burger King crown, and try to bring peace to the Nile, if you ask me.