No, today’s post isn’t about some barber shop quartet that has suddenly lost a member. Instead, I’m taking a look at three movies that have been produced by Judd Apatow: The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and most recently, Superbad.
All three films are known to be a little on the sicker side of things — along the same line of thought as There’s Something About Mary, you could say — and all three were sleeper hits that received very little in terms of marketing power, instead getting huge box receipts as a result of word of mouth.
It’s interesting to see the progression of Judd Apatow’s movies, because each film is inching progressively closer to bad taste and poor morals. The 40 Year Old Virgin discusses masturbation and, well, a 40-year-old virgin. Knocked Up tackles the issue of having a child out of wedlock. Superbad goes leaps and bounds further, taking on teenage drinking and sex, describing it in graphic detail. And they’ve all been hugely hilarious movies that everyone should watch.
When The 40 Year Old Virgin hit theatres in 2005, I knew very little about Steve Carell. I was vaguely familiar with his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, mostly from the Even Stevphen sequences that he would share with Stephen Colbert (you can find them on YouTube). By and large, Steve Carell didn’t have much star power and it wasn’t because of him that I decided to watch this movie. I’m glad I did, though, because it was easily the funniest movie of the year. Far too often do we have Hollywood movies with good-looking people who are popular, psychologically sound, and otherwise “normal.” And then we have Steve Carell who plays a 40 year old virgin, reminding that although it may not be the norm, it’s okay to be a virgin… even if you’re 40. The scene involving the wax removal of his chest hair, shown above, was an instant classic.
4.5 Stars out of 5.
Seth Rogen went from being a stockroom boy in The 40 Year Old Virgin to an unemployed and lazy 20-something in Knocked Up. Many considered this film the sleeper hit of 2007, because it basically received zero promotion on the part of the studio. And then word spread like wildfire about just how funny this movie was, talking about a beautiful TV personality in the making (Katherine Heigl of Grey’s Anatomy) who has one drunken night with the aforementioned useless drifter. There are moments that are quite sweet, but you’re clearly in this for the comedy and Knocked Up delivers in that respect too. Heck, even the title is funny. The story progresses very well and some of us can really relate to the budding Internet entrepreneurs with whom Seth Rogen’s character hangs out. The scene with the actual birth, however, was a bit much for me.
3.5 Stars out of 5.
Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Superbad chronicles the adventures of three teenagers over the course of about one school day. Seth and Evan (the characters are based on the childhoods of their real life counterparts) are trying to hunt down some liquor that they can bring to a hot party that night. The idea is that they can get their prospective girlfriends drunk and proceed to hide Mr. Happy… if you get my drift. The real star of the movie, however, is played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Although his character’s name is technically Fogell, everyone who has seen this movie knows him only as McLovin. I personally found Superbad to feel very much like Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (also an awesome movie) in that the events seem quite randomly strung together. But it works. And it’s hilarious. If you’ve ever been to high school, you can totally identify with the characters in this movie. Just be aware that there’s a lot of explicit sex talk, despite the fact that the characters are supposed to be in high school. My only complaint is that Superbad is quite long for what it is.
4 Stars out of 5.
Out of the three films, I enjoyed The 40 Year Old Virgin the most and I think it’s thanks largely to Steve Carell’s unforgettable performance. It’s because of that movie that I got interested in The Office. That’s not to discount the comedy value in the other two Judd Apatow movies… Knocked Up is pretty good too and Superbad is super good. What will Judd Apatow have for us next? Toddlers killing pandas?