Jun 7, 2007

Knocked Up

I have been criticized by some of my very brainy loved ones for saying that Judd Apatow's The 40 Year Old Virgin was one of the best movies last year. There is a contingent that doesn't get my deep affection for the oeuvre of Will Ferrell, Apatow and the Farrelly Brothers (at the beginning). Well, blow me.
Knocked Up is quite funny. It has some hilarious moments and some truly poignant moments, for which I give Apatow, an unabashed romantic, credit. But it also drags in places, since the structure seems to be to sit and wait for the baby of the lovely, talented Katharine Heigl, to pop out.
The 40 YO V seems to me a more solid achievement. However, I enjoyed best the cast of characters, particularly the excellent Seth Rogen and his amazing collection of stoner roomates, all consummate comic actors. Also, Paul Rudd is my love. Gorgeous timing, glorious deadpan, smart, solid acting. If he wasn't married, I would stalk him. I love it that he considers himself a Jewish nerd (in an interview on Entertainment Weekly). Jewish yes, but no one who looks like Paul Rudd can possibly be a nerd. I will not compare him to Cary Grant because that would be too much, but there is something similarly graceful in a leading man (a far as I'm concerned) who is so adept at comedy. It is a mystery to me that he is not a bigger star.
I don't mind the barf and fart humor at all. In fact, one of the jokes that made me laugh the hardest was a beautifully delivered bit involving pink eye and farting in pillows. Also, a shoutout to the filmmakers for calling the Cirque Du Soleil what it is: a freaking nightmare. And there is a mini-Talmudic discussion about the genius or lack thereof of Steely Dan. (Do gentiles also have this argument?) I've always been in the camp of genius, but Mr. Ex-Enchilada used to compare them, unfavorably, to muzak.
One nitpick: Though he populates the screen with the women in his life, his wife Leslie Mann, playing Paul Rudd's wife, (I wasn't blown away by her) and his two lovely and very funny daughters, I couldn't help but noticing that for Apatow, and perhaps for most males in this country, women are semi-hysterical, mysterious creatures there is no use in trying to understand. Some of the women's reactions seemed petty and shrill and uncalled for. For a guy who loves romance so much, one would think he'd give us girls more credit. On the other hand, if this is really the amount of anxiety women give men in this country, that they'd rather not grow up at all than deal with us, we are in trouble.

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