August 10, 2009

IT'S ALL FUN AND GAMES UNTIL YOU PENETRATE TO THE CORE TRUTHS (via Glenn Dryfoos)

The Unfunny Truth (ROSS DOUTHAT, 8/10/09, NY Times)

No contemporary figure has done more than Apatow, the 41-year-old auteur of gross-out comedies, to rebrand social conservatism for a younger generation that associates it primarily with priggishness and puritanism. No recent movie has made the case for abortion look as self-evidently awful as “Knocked Up,” Apatow’s 2007 keep-the-baby farce. No movie has made saving — and saving, and saving — your virginity seem as enviable as “The 40-Year Old Virgin,” whose closing segue into connubial bliss played like an infomercial for True Love Waits.

“We make extremely right-wing movies with extremely filthy dialogue,” Seth Rogen, Apatow’s favorite leading man, told an interviewer during the promotional blitz for “Knocked Up.” He was half-joking, of course, and it’s safe to say that you won’t see Apatow and his merry men at the next Christian Coalition fundraiser. But the one-liner got something important right. By marrying raunch and moralism, Apatow’s movies have done the near impossible: They’ve made an effectively conservative message about relationships and reproduction seem relatable, funny, down-to-earth and even sexy.

At least until now. Having taken on virginity, pregnancy, and wedlock, Apatow has moved on to later stages of the life-cycle — divorce and death. His new film, “Funny People,” features Adam Sandler as a superstar comedian who’s rich, lonely, and battling leukemia. He’s also battling to win back his former girlfriend, whom he cheated on years ago, from her husband, who’s also cheating on her — but with whom she has two kids.

It is heavier than Apatow’s last two films, and fewer people care for it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 10, 2009 11:50 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« IT GETS EVEN FUNNIER WHEN THEY ADD UNIVERSES: | Main | GIVE DICK LAMM THIS MUCH CREDIT...: »