When you watch a true crime documentary, you don’t always expect to laugh. There are often some low-key funny moments in these films or series. Unintentionally funny is one thing. Laugh-out-loud hilariously-awkward is another. That’s where Casting Jon Benet falls.
You’ll swear Casting Jon Benet was produced by Ricky Gervais. You’ll watch it waiting for Eugene Levy to pop onto the screen and improvise a scene as John Ramsey writing a ransom note.
This is one of the most untraditional true crime documentaries you’ll ever come across. Exactly why is it so funny?
Casting Jon Benet is less of a true crime documentary and more about fame chasers
Here’s how Casting Jon Benet is set up: in an attempt to make a film about the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey, casting directors are on the lookout for actors for the film. I’m not so sure they’re intent on actually making a film as much as they are finding some goofy wannabe actors and actresses to talk about the crime and get interrupted by awkward phone calls.
One-by-one, we meet actors trying out for the role of John, Patsy, Burke, and of course, Jon Benet. The ability of these different actors ranges wildly. The best actor is one of the guys trying out to be John Mark Karr, who I just learned now goes by the name Alexis Reich. Who knew?
Many of these actors fall into the “aspiring” level of fame. The kid actors, especially, are uncomfortable on camera. Some of the adults have a head too big for their acting chops. Others are just strange people. While getting to know them a little bit, they go over what made them want to try out for this role and talk a little bit about the case. It’s definitely helpful to know about the Jon Benet Ramsey case before watching this as you’ll probably be busy trying to catch your breath at certain moments.
Seriously. It’s not always easy to make me laugh. I’ll cringe. I’ll mark out at a big twist. Laughter is different. I was not expecting Casting Jon Benet to be this legitimately funny. While it does have a lot of emotion nearer to the end when they go more into the case itself and the different horrible theories as to what may have happened in this unsolved crime, a good 90% knocks us over head with cringe humor.