Thursday, December 3, 2009


I've been a fan of Judd Apatow, well, since I saw Knocked Up. I knew absolutely nothing about this movie, aside from the fact that it was by the director of 40 Year-Old Virgin, which I saw and loved, but thought it was because 1) I was a virgin, and 2) I think Steve Carrell is hilarious even when he's playing a serious role. But once I saw this, and the more recent Pineapple Express, my tune changed, and I realized that--sure, there was probably some deep, latent identification going on with Steve Carrell, but more probable was the fact that Apatow and his rotating cast of awesome make some really hilarious movies.

So, what is it about Apatow's films that proves to be such a draw? Let's run down a few suspects.

1) DUDE COMEDY--I don't remember the last time I sat around making a joke about pubic hair or bongs. But I've got more than enough stories about getting stepped on in the middle of the night or getting hit in the unmentionables. I in no way resonate with any of Seth Rogen's friends, except that I've lived in my share of crappy houses with way too many guys, and confused a framed poster with high art on occasion. Case in point: I have a seven foot U2 Rattle and Hum poster sitting in the front foyer with absolutely no place to put it in our apartment. But I can't bear the thought of just throwing it out.

2) PREGNANCY--Like I said, not trying to make a statement here. But like a friend of mine points out, babies are God's reminders that life is not controllable, that life gets through the cracks in our plans and poops on our shoes. I love the aspect of this movie which is an unseen actress who is the catalyst for all kinds of plot changes. Consider the fact that the baby is the one steering the ship of the entire plot, and we only see her in the last four minutes.

3) GUY GETS GIRL WAY OUT OF HIS LEAGUE--THIS I can resonate with, and I'll speak for the other bloggers here, that this is nearly categorically true. All men wind up with women who are way too good for them, and far prettier than us.

4) GOOFBALL TURNS INTO A GOOD GUY--Again, I resonate with this. One of the things I love about this film is that you have true moral development. Seth Rogen becomes a better person. He starts reading the baby books; he takes responsibility for his life and for other lives; he rises to the occasion. Does he still make awesome one-liners about bongs? Yes. Does he still deliever epithets about the gynecologist that make me rewind giggling? Yes. And in it all, he rises to the occasion.

This is a slam dunk. I can't recommend this movie enough except to give it 5 furry stuffed animals out of 5. It's tremendous.


the hamster said...

the wife and i will probably watch this tonight. i'll post a review tomorrow or saturday. and then i'll read your review. it's almost like a little game.

John Barber said...

Funnily enough, this is my least favorite Apatow movie - oh, I liked it fine, but give me SUPERBAD any day. Maybe it's a Michael Cera thing... Speaking of which, PAPER HEART is on its may to my house as we speak. Review forthcoming.

Tiffani R said...

While I have not seen Superbad (it didn't make it up my Netflix cue before I had to pause my subscription for winter break) nor Pineapple Express (and I think Sarah would support me in this omission), I will persist in commenting.

I don't always love Apatow's movies, because as a woman, I often feel like there are some latent male behaviors that don't do women any favors. Women are either the serious (read: lame and prudish) ones or the desirable (read: slutty) ones. At least, that was my initial impression of 40YOV which I couldn't even finish until your wife told me it ended well.

That being said, I do have a special place in my heart for movies where the characters learn and grow, and where there are little bits of truth.... and I loved Knocked Up. I didn't love that the women play the "shrew" roles (as always) or that the men are so prototypically immature, but I loved, as you did, Myles, how Seth Rogan's character matures, how his relationship with Katherine Heigl becomes something they both value, and how they "make a go of it" despite the discouragement of their friends and family (at least initially).

Also, I cannot believe that you three have not all seen this movie 2 years ago. What is going on here at the Popcorn Bag?!?

myleswerntz said...

I totally disagree. This movie is way superior to SUPERBAD or even PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. PINEAPPLE was pretty freaking funny, but it lacked the character development that makes this one just a good all-around movie.

John Barber said...

Oh don't get me wrong. I agree that in terms of being a complete movie, this one is probably the best. It appeals to the widest audience, it creates characters that actually learn something, it has a little bit of intelligence to the script. But SUPERBAD just killed me. I'm pretty sure I peed in my pants at one point. And pee in the pants is good for, like, three stars all by itself.

the hamster said...

myles - this is good stuff. and i concur with finding girl's way out of our league. sometimes i feel kinda sorry for latonya, and then i remember "oh wait, i taught her how to play backgammon." not that such a lesson makes us equal, but it's still a pretty boss skill to have.

i like your line about confusing framed posters with high art. and this is brillant stuff in the "pregnancy" paragraph about the unseen actress steering the ship. very nice.

i'm glad we reviewed this in the same week. good times. we should try more reviews in tandem.

the hamster said...

tiffani - not that this should lighten the blow any, but i do think that apatow purposely exaggerates these stereotypes in a way that slightly diffuses them. sure, it appears to celebrate certain "latent male behaviors that don't do women any favors", but apatow is quick to simultaneously point out that it's these behaviors that constantly get these men in trouble OR that these men need to be delivered from. in each of apatow's films, the men start out in the lowly places, and each find a reason (either a woman or a good male friend) who gives them reason to achieve something better, ie. to put the childish bit away. a great deal of hollywood relies on hyperbole in order to be interesting. while my conversations with myles over backgammon for 2.5 hours are enlightening and healing for me, i doubt anyone really wants to pay the price of admission to listen to us. likewise, the goodness and grossness in women has to be punctuated with exclamations as well, if for no other reason than to balance the boat. let me know what you think.

Tiffani R said...

Hey Kev: I think its fair to say that he highlights sort of the extreme bad-ness of both Men and Women, and that he often redeems them to a degree. For sure.

Part of me also wonders though, if sometimes these movies aren't romanticizing the men's behaviors and villifying the women's? I probably only think that because I'm a woman, true.

Anyway, all good questions. Also, while you and Myles are pretty awesome, I have to admit that you both married "up" - you're wives are fantastic. :)

Love to all, T