Part of the fun of making blanket statements is trying to see if you can come up with exceptions to them. For example, in my review of “Who’s Your Caddy?,” I claimed that no movie with a pun title has ever been any good. This prompted someone to comment that “Shaun of the Dead” has a pun title and is, in fact, an excellent movie.
Indeed! That is an exception to the rule. The ONLY exception!
Let me clarify what kind of pun I’m talking about, though. I mean the kind represented by “Who’s Your Caddy?,” which is a play on the expression “Who’s your daddy?” Consider also: “Delta Farce,” “Maid in Manhattan,” “Down and Derby,” “Happily N’Ever After,” and “Deliver Us from Eva,” all of which hope to earn smiles by being slight variations on familiar phrases.
I don’t mean titles where the words have multiple applicable meanings. Someone pointed out the TV show “Arrested Development.” In one sense, the show is about characters in a state of arrested development, i.e., who act like children. In another sense, the show begins with the patriarch being arrested, a development that fuels the action for the rest of the series. (A commenter pointed out another meaning I hadn’t considered: The family’s corporation has a housing development that is never going to be finished.). So “Arrested Development” is a “pun,” technically, in that the phrase can correctly be taken more than one way. But it’s not the annoying, jokey kind of pun that deserves ridicule. It’s more the clever, useful kind. That’s “wordplay” (which is the positive version of “pun,” which is usually a negative term).
OK, I just found another exception to my rule: “Legally Blonde” (a play on the term “legally blind”) is a perfectly good movie.
Can anyone think of any other pun titles, for good or bad?
Also, consider this: Why do I hate pun titles on movies when I use them myself almost every week for “Snide Remarks”? That is the mystery, isn’t it?