Films hit both funny bone and thinking cap

There was a time during the ’80s when aud pleasers such as “Ghostbusters” and “Beverly Hills Cop” crowded the Golden Globes comedy/musical category. However, as indicated by this year’s adult-demo fare, in recent times the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. has developed a more sophisticated sense of humor.

Having generated early buzz back in May at Cannes, Woody Allen’s love triangle “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” boasts four noms, augmenting its pic pick with thesp mentions for Rebecca Hall, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. While it’s common to see Allen’s pics at the Globes, wins for him in this category are uncommon, the last being 1986’s “Hannah and Her Sisters.” Still, the lush Euro setting and themes of “Vicky” could be appealing factors to the HFPA constituency.

Blighty titles, such as this year’s “Happy-Go-Lucky” from Mike Leigh and “In Bruges” by Martin McDonagh, have somewhat similar profiles. The Globes have always made room for small pics from across the Pond, i.e., “Mrs. Henderson Presents” and “Pride and Prejudice” in 2005, but winning is a different story, with the last trophy going to 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love.”

The Coen brothers also have a bridesmaid history at the Globes. Though they won best screenplay for last year’s “No Country for Old Men,” the brothers’ previous award contenders were often passed over.

Given the HFPA’s predilection for Broadway adaptations and actress nominee Meryl Streep, “Mamma Mia!” has reason to be optimistic. In the past six years, four musicals have taken home the top Globe: last year’s “Sweeney Todd,” 2006’s “Dreamgirls,” 2002’s “Chicago” and 2001’s “Moulin Rouge.” With a worldwide B.O. of $570.6 million, “Mamma” also is the category’s biggest aud pleaser.

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