Shira’s Trailer Round-up: Judd Apatow breaks my heart edition
Look, I love Freaks and Geeks. Love it really hard. And I liked a lot of the early Judd Apatow movies (Ron Burgundy!), and I’m in the facebook group avowing that “The Closest Anyone’s Been to Seeing God is Watching Superbad.” So I believe in Apatow. But…Walk Hard was no good, and, alas, the trailers for the four (four!) movies he’s producing in 2008 look, well…underwhelming. When the best thing in all of them is the song choice (which, in fairness, are excellent), we have some problems.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Here are some things I know I like—Jason Segel, of both Freaks and Geeks and How I Met Your Mother (which is really funny and I don’t know why you don’t watch it), and Kristen Bell, of Veronica Mars. But this movie, which stars both of them, looks really, well, typical, more than anything else. I did laugh out loud at the “Kind of, now…” line, and the crab-like Aldous Snow looks pretty funny, but…there’s like four pratfalls in just a 3 minute trailer, Jonah Hill I am waaay over, and even Paul Rudd isn’t funny. Jason Segel’s can still be pretty great—see, the “what, me?” grin in the last shot—but the snarky, supertalented Kristen Bell gets relegated to playing another boring, shrieky Apatow woman, and there’s something even nudity can’t fix.
Status of Shira’s heart: wounded
The moral of this particular trailer is that there is very little Owen Wilson can’t do. He’s consistently funny here, and can you imagine if Drillbit was played by, like, Matthew McCounaghey (shudder). And Leslie Mann is really excellent, and I’m really happy to see her again, and that scene with the fat kid dancing is really funny. So the concept is sort of tired, and there’s a little too much with the punching and the obvious jokes. But Wilson and Mann? Ah, they’re so great, and that scene where he calls the kid a “crotchblocker” is priceless. And all right, I can stand another movie about the losers getting their commeuppance. It’s what Judd’s good at.
Status of Shira’s heart: maintaining, thanks be to Owen
All right, in fairness, the more I watch this the more I actually kind of like it, despite the gross crime committed by making James Franco look ugly. I mean, it has Lumberg, from Office Space! And at first I was sort of annoyed by all the slow dreamy shots, but that part where Seth Rogen plays air guitar is truly beautiful. (Noticing a pattern here? Note to future trailer makers – people silently dancing ridiculously is trailer GOLD). The problem here, though, is that while I like pothead movies as much as anyone else, I’m not really sure that people being high are inherently funny just being high, unless you’re high. The only part of this that actually made me laugh was when he kicked the windshield of the car and his foot sticks through, and maybe the “I’m in the dumpster already” line. If this movie ends up being a revelatory reinvention, ok, cool, but if it’s just Seth and James running around eating random crap as the Apatow circus fires guns, well…
Status of Shira’s Heart: cracked down the middle
Ok, except for the “John Stamos!”, nothing about this trailer is particularly funny, new or interesting. And I saw Boogie Nights the other night, which John C Reilly was in, and he was great in it, and look, the man can act, but lately he’s been hanging around with the Apatow production team a little too much. I saw Walk Hard, which could have been a star-making moment, except John C. Reilly isn’t a star. He’s an actor. And he’s trying to be Will Ferrell now, which is a problem for 2 reasons: We really only need one Will Ferrell, and Reilly doesn’t even do a particularly good Will Ferrell. So now, Judd, I’m just mad.
Status of Shira’s Heart: Shattered.
I once loved you, man!
This movie has nothing to do with Judd Apatow whatsoever, but I put it here just because its such an interesting move. A liberal anit-war-in-Iraq movie, but rather than make something that will obviously be depressing, full of old, established (good) actors, this one has Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, for God’s sake, and is clearly aiming itself squarely at middle America. The MOR songs in the background, the endless shots of small-town parades and people in cowboy hats…this trailer is saying “We’re talking about YOU, heartland, and we understand you and that war fucked YOU up!” I, for one, want to see it.