This Is 40 is only the fourth feature film directed by Apatow (following The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Funny People), but he has tickled our funny bones onscreen as a producer (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Superbad, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Bridesmaids) and a writer (Fun with Dick and Jane, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Pineapple Express).
We all bring certain baggage to movies, and here’s one of my too-big-for-carry-on pieces: I hate holy fools. Film history is full of stories about cynical and/or Type-A people whose lives are changed for the better through their experiences with plot devices in the shape of a simple-minded person. Your Rain Mans and your Forrest Gumps charmed audiences, sure, but largely on the basis of the brutally anti-intellectual notion that real wisdom only comes from the mouths and hearts of those who aren’t all about the book smarts.
Great comic pairings don't come along often, yet Steve Carell and Paul Rudd strike a snappy chemistry as straight-man Tim Conrad (Rudd) to funny-man Barry Speck (Carell) in this adaptation of Francis Veber's 'Le Diner du Cons' in 1998. The reason to watch 'Dinner for Schmucks' is to enjoy the off-kilter harmony of two great comedians working off one another in a vaudeville style that's just as fresh today as when Laurel and Hardy or Martin and Lewis did it decades ago. Grade: B.
Creature features, alien invasions, 3-D gimmickry: From start to finish, 'Monsters Vs. Aliens' celebrates some of the staples of the 1950s B movie. And in a way that's perfectly fitting, because maybe it's time to start giving the unapologetic genre picture some credit again. Grade: B.
Hetero-male love is in full bloom in Hollywood, and it seems that a huge amount of credit belongs to filmmakers Kevin Smith and Judd Apatow. They've presented a whole generation of pre- and post-metrosexual men who forsake the products and the preening for a more genuine expression of themselves and their comfort with each other, and 'I Love You, Man' is their latest movie to test these waters. Grade: C.