Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Like very many contemporary U.S comedies – like all comedies produced by Judd Apatow – The Big Sick: A) is a very loose, shaggy assemblage; B) would significantly benefit from being less shaggy. Though in this case, at least, the shagginess is personable as hell, rather than just feeling like the filmmakers had absolutely no […]

Any movie that openly courts direct comparison to the 1984 rock mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap is all but begging us to find fault with it. So it’s all the more impressive that Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping should be such an exceptionally rewarding comedy, given the giant breathing down its neck. I’m not sure […]

There is much to say about This Is 40, more of it good than ill, but I absolutely couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t start by getting something off my chest: this movie is a damned nightmare of our old nemesis Orange ‘n’ Teal. I swear, every time you think it’s just about died […]

It is lazy to complain that the films of producer Judd Apatow are longer than they need to be; this is something that has passed from criticism to mere characteristic that everybody knows. Arthur Freed’s movies were in eyeball-searing Technicolor and often ended with a pseudo-ballet; Val Lewton’s blurred the edge between paranormal and psychological […]

Many years ago, David Wain directed and co-wrote a film called Wet Hot American Summer, a terrifyingly good comedy that at once parodies and honors the tradition of early-’80s teen sex farces, which has amassed one of the most robust cults of any comedy made in the last decade and change. Since then, Wain’s cinematic […]

There’s a lot of interesting chatter out there about the sociological status of Bridesmaids, a film that looks to have finally cracked the seemingly insurmountable wall of “Guys won’t see movies about girls”, and that represents a massive sea-change in the output of the Judd Apatow Filmmakers Circle, which has for the first time released […]

I liked Funny People more than I can possibly defend. It is a monumentally flawed film, with one structural problem in particular that adds a completely extraneous subplot that drags it out to an unforgivable length, and that’s not even its greatest sin: no, that would be writer-director Judd Apatow’s resolute unwillingness to bend even […]

Harold Ramis’s new comedy of prehistoric times, Year One, manages to achieve something rare and special that only, literally two other movies that I can think of after some fair amount of reflection,* have ever achieved. It’s not a good thing. Year One is a motion picture comedy at which I did not laugh one […]

Depending on the kind of person you are, Pineapple Express is either the latest Apatow Productions feature to explore the process whereby a goofy man-child learns to be a grown-up, and a good deal prettier than such films tend to be; or it is the fifth film directed by the invaluable David Gordon Green, making […]

The one thing Step Brothers does not want for is a good solid high concept: 39-year-old Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and 40-year-old Dale Doback (John C. Reilly), two men with crippling cases of arrested development, are forced to live together when their parents marry; the two man-children have to do a whole lot of growing […]

Forgetting Sarah Marshall has become instantly famous for one of the most dubious reasons I can imagine: the lead actor Jason Segel, who is un-coincidentally also the screenwriter, goes full-frontal in one of the film’s first scenes. Setting aside that fact that there have in fact been penises in movies before – why, just last […]

I am unnaturally obsessed with the filmmaking family of producer Judd Apatow. Probably because the producer as selling point is such a rare occurrence, all things considered; my immediate sense is that it hasn’t happened since the reign of David O. Selznick (there are other classic examples, like Val Lewton’s horror film unit at RKO […]