What's the worst response to a film?

What’s the worst response to a film?

What is the more discouraging response: unintentional laughter at a serious film like Showgirls, or no laughter at all at a comedy like the Police Academy sequels? Examples, please. — R. Liu

No laughter at a comedy, definitely; unintended guffawing may make a filmmaker wince, but it’s a bonding experience for the audience. During a cockamamie love scene between Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte in The Prince of Tides, the giggling became so contagious — spilling over into tears of hysteria — that the one unamused person in the room began yelling at the rest of us. And I love when a line of dialogue is so loaded (”You can be my wingman anytime” in Top Gun) or so weirdly delivered (anything by Keanu Reeves) that it takes on a comedic life of its own.

On the other hand, when I saw the recent remake of The Pink Panther, the mirthlessness in the room was so depressing that I felt bad for Steve Martin and Kevin Kline — and they weren’t even there to hear the silence.