You've seen them for years: Quippy review quotes that involve lazy puns on movies' titles or subject matter. We're not letting the perpetrators get away with it any more. ---
No matter the area, you can always tell lazy writing by the frequency with which it resorts to cliches, over-worked metaphors and, yes, ready-for-blurbing puns. My preferred designation is the "hack stamp": a particular turn of phrase that marks the writer as taking the easiest possible way out.
And film critics can be notorious for this behavior. We begin our public shaming with this week's release of Chimpanzee, the new documentary from DisneyNature that sits there just begging for pun-tastic commentary. To wit:
Matt Stevens, E! Online: "Your own wild tribe will be entertained."
Jason McKiernan, AMC FilmCritic.com: "...fulfills its role in the natural selection of the Hollywood box-office." (What?)
Brett Michel, Boston Herald: "It’s a comforting tale, one that would have been better served without all of [Tim] Allen’s monkeying around."
Joseph Airdo, Phoenix Movie Examiner: "You would have to be bananas to deny that Chimpanzee is incredibly cute;" "monkeying around and playing to the viewer's emotions is better than taking itself too seriously."
Mike Scott of the New Orleans Times-Picayune seems determined to set a record for hack-stampery. "You don't have to be Jane Goodall to recognize that there's a little monkeying around going on"; "any narrative liberties taken to aid in the telling of this prehensile tale are not only forgivable but welcome"; "an emotional and edifying movie that primates of all ages will go ape over"; "a movie that deserves two opposable thumbs-up." We are not making this up.
Together, we can make it stop. Please share when you observe an egregious case of hack-stamping, so that the violators can be exposed.