With The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Judd Apatow succeeded in an endeavor that foiled many of the more accomplished directors to precede him: the merging of the romantic comedy, a quintessential “female genre,” with the raunchy comedy, a quintessential “male genre.” The result had broad appeal. Apatow used the same basic formula to similar effect for his follow-up, Knocked Up. With Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he passed the baton to one of his buddies, former Freaks and Geeks cohort Jason Segel. The movie, written by and starring Segel and directed by first-timer Nicholas Stoller, is at least as good as the two Apatow-directed films, with a script that’s both a little sharper and a little more romantic.
And that’s a good thing. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’
I’m not really sure what kind of a world we live in, anymore–at least as far as movies are concerned. Judd Apatow makes a serious (and disappointing) movie, Johnny Depp and Michael Mann somehow manage to flop at the box office, and some alien-Guantanamo thing is #1. What the hell?
The country right now is all about sequels or related spin-offs. Just take a gander at Transformers 2: Revenge of the Volume Dial and G.I. Joe. Hasbro is trying to get their nostalgia products formed into a movie genre aimed at the 25 and under crowd, plus toy sales. I get that movie makers want to stick with franchises that work, but do we really need a G.I. Joe 2?
Instead, let’s go with another Hasbro toy: Play-Doh. Continue reading The McBournie Minute: Still churning out crap, just a different shade
Comedy is always serious business, whether the joke is on the funnyman with the pie in the kisser or the woman trying, really trying, to fall for the schnook who didn’t use the condom. Funny People, the latest from Judd Apatow, the director of the hit comedies Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin and a prolific producer, is being pitched as a bid at gravity, earnestness, adulthood, whatever. It’s an angle that sounds as if it had been cooked up by a studio flack to explain how words like divorce and death got tangled in with all the penis (and thereabouts) jokes. But the only difference is that now, Judd Apatow also seems almost lethally serious about being Judd Apatow.
Which is kind of ironic, considering the Judd Apatow name has essentially become synonymous with a new style of comedy. While Apatow has only directed 3 films including Funny People, he has written and produced countless films such as Anchorman, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Pineapple Express-each movie carrying a distinct comedic style known as Apatow comedy. The stories all have similar themes, man children trying to grow up, hot chicks liking geeky guys, hard-core bromance; essentially coming of age stories for adults.
So the question is does Funny People live up to the Apatow legacy? Honestly, like this movie, the answer is a conundrum. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Funny People’
One quick note: MasterChugs Theater will now be on Thursday evenings instead of Fridays. I’m a power-hungry animal that wants my way and no one puts me in the corner. On to the review!
With Step Brothers, Will Ferrell seems to be intentionally setting up a target for critics who have lambasted him reusing a man-child persona in most of his roles. In this movie, Ferrell’s character Brennan is as dumb as his version George W. Bush (ironic given how the movies starts), as enthusiastic as a Spartan cheerleader, as convinced of his own importance as Ron Burgundy and as obsessed with toys as Buddy the Elf. And, to prove that you shouldn’t fix it if it ain’t broke, Step Brothers is hilarious, an ode to the adolescent that lives within us all but takes human form in Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Step Brothers’
Sure, we’ve all been there. The young, adventerous age of 18, old enough to smoke your lungs out, buy a scratcher from the lottery, but not old enough to buy a daily visit from Uncle Jack. Well, when in doubt, improvise! Like this Texas teen, who stole his friend’s police badge and tried to use it as identification for drinks at a club.
Apparently when asked how old he was, the line “old enough to party” only works in Judd Apatow films.
For the final bit in our Apatow retrospective, we take a look at his most recent movie, one that hits one of the easiest genre types of all: the buddy comedy. Yes, I’m talking about Pineapple Express, a stoner comedy that partakes of a gentle indie vibe before hitting the hard stuff for a major Shane Black-style blowup and meltdown.
If you think you’ve seen this movie before, well, that’s probably because you caught one of its multiple inspirations. It was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who turned their adolescent agonies into Superbad, a charming smutfest about three hormonally freaked-out teenage boys. The two screenwriters have become major since then, in particular Rogen, who also starred in Judd Apatow’s family-values comedy Knocked Up and has recently lent his voice to one too many children’s movies. In some respects Pineapple Express plays out like a louder, nastier, more violent and ostensibly adult follow-up to Superbad, except that Rogen, who had a supporting part in the first film as a slacker cop, has moved far enough up the studio food chain to now take a starring role. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Pineapple Express’
The tricky thing about parody movies is that the jokes get old fast and they’re hit-and-miss. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, the Judd Apatow produced and written spoof of every musical biopic from Ray to Walk the Line, is guilty on both counts. How lucky that when the jokes do hit, they rock. No pun intended. Hit the jump to see why.
Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story’
Yes, the teen sex comedy has been done to death. No, there is hardly a need for another movie with horny teenagers looking for a big score. Yet, Superbad is easily the new American Pie, and fully justifies its existence.
It takes one sequence for Superbad, directed by Greg Mottola but produced by Judd Apatow, to solidify itself as the new king of teenage sex embarrassment, and it happens to involve far more than man-playing-teenager-on-pie fornication. This is unquestionably crude, obnoxious, and flat-out offensive from the first words spoken in the movie. It’s targeting a specific crowd, and it simply nails the demographic flawlessly. Isn’t it just grand? Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Superbad’
The 40 Year-Old Virgin is, first and foremost, a coming out party for Steve Carell. The one-time Daily Show correspondent has made a name for himself by stealing the show in such movies as Bruce Almighty and Anchorman. It was only a matter of time before he was asked to carry one on his own, and The 40 Year-Old Virgin proves he has the chops to pull it off. With the yeoman aid of director Judd Apatow, he develops his faux-newsman routine into a much different comic persona that may launch him into the big leagues.
Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘The 40 Year-Old Virgin’
For the time being, we’re going to take a look at the works of Apatow. The reason being? Pineapple Express has recently come out. It’s pretty good. You should go see it; however, we’ll get to it in good time. In the meantime, we’re going to examine the works of Judd Apatow in order to see how he has progressed as a director, writer and producer, though not necessarily in exact order. The first movie up? 2006’s Knocked Up.
Judd Apatow gets guys. For years men in movies have been cookie cutter presentations of ferocious might or sensitive driveling. In his movies, Apatow brings a different breed of man: one who falls between the stereotypes of the sensitive man and the ubermensch and paints a complete picture of just how complex men can be.
Nowhere is this more true than in Apatow’s Knocked Up. The 40-Year Old Virgin director tackles the worst nightmare for the single man–having a one night stand with a girl and then finding out that you’ve knocked her up. It’s a simple enough concept for a story, but thanks to Apatow’s delightfully complex characters and hilariously irreverent approach to the subject matter, Knocked Up runs the chance of being one of the most brilliant comedies of the decade. Click the button to see why. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Knocked Up’