Judd Apatow is the savior ofcomedy.
Without him, the only mainstream people consistently making comedies in
the US would be National Lampoon (who struck gold out of NOWHERE with Van Wilder and promptly returned to mediocrity), the American Pie series (who now just cranks out unfunny direct-to-dvd movies) and the two shmucks who keep making “Genre Movies”. Date Movie, Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans, etc. I died a little bit inside just by typing those titles. I actually feel physically ill right now. I need to move on.
But while we were lost in the error of our ways, Judd Apatow came forth. After two ill-fated TV shows (which I’ll get into in a different article) Apatow made his way to Hollywood, intially producing movies. His major break directing was 40 Year Old Virgin, which is probably one of the most popular comedies of the decade. Similarly successful was Knocked Up.
Part of what made these movies hilarious is that most of the dialogue is improvised. Rather than have a funny script, Apatow would have an outline
of how the movie was going to progress and cast a number of his friends who he knew to be funny people and they would improvise. With such a full-auto shotgun approach to humor (just keep firing until you hit something) the movies end up having tons of funny one-liners.
Several of Judd Apatow’s friends found popularity as a result of their association with him, resulting in almost a new genre of film. I’m here to pay tribute to some of them.
Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott get in a fight with a tow truck driver and choose community service over jail. Somehow they end up in a Big Brother/Big Sister type program. How that is an option after you just committed a violent crime is beyond me, but moving on. Paul Rudd was a reasonably successful actor prior to Apatow (he had a recurring role on Friends), but his career really took off after he played Brian Fantana in the legendary cinematic experience Anchorman. Role Models was written (partially) by Rudd, meaning that his character was perfectly suited to him. And it shows. This is a funny movie. The characters are interesting, the dialogue is sharp, and it makes you laugh.
Score: 78 out of 100
Seth Rogen wrote this movie and put himself in a supporting role in this comedy about two friends on a quest to get alcohol.
This movie got a reception of epic proportions, with many people calling it this generation’s Animal House. No, I don’t know the significance of that statement either. While I enjoyed the film, I didn’t think it was THAT impressive. McLovin was hilarious, though.
Score: 72 out of 100
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Jason Segall wrote and starred in this movie, about a musician who gets dumped, so he goes on a vacation to move on, but his ex happens to be staying at the same hotel. Shenanigans ensue.
If you don’t mind full frontal dude nudity (twice) then watch this movie. It wasn’t quite as good as many of the other movies that Judd Apatow’s friends were involved in, but it has a lot of heart and a few absolutely hysterical moments.
Score: 69 out of 100
In conclusion, I really must give a tip of the cap to Judd Apatow. Without him, the best that America would have to contribute to the world of comedy would be SNL. Which has been lame this side of Chris Farley.
We owe you one Judd.