24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Judd Apatow

'Bridesmaids': Judd Apatow, now in female form

February 1, 2011 |  6:34 pm

Judd Apatow and his proteges made their names poking at the rituals of the young American male. Can his comedy incubator, which gave us such movies as "Superbad" and "Knocked Up," turn out something equally hilarious for and about women?

That's the question posed by "Bridesmaids," an ensemble female comedy coming out this May about -- of course -- a wedding and the run-up to it. It seems like a Tina Fey-Amy Poehler special,  but it's actually cast from a lower-profile comedy crew ("SNL" and otherwise):  Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Ellie Kemper and Rose Byrne, among others. The movie also marks the feature-writing and lead-billing debut of Wiig, who stole the show in walk-on parts in "Ghost Town" and others, playing the maid of honor.("Freaks and Geeks" creator Paul Feig directed; Apatow, who executive produced that series, is credited here as a producer.)

Judging by the trailer, "Bridesmaids" treads lots of familiar wedding-comedy ground -- the enormousness of the bridesmaid task, the cattiness/smugness of some of the women in the party, the gap between the single and married -- and mixes in flatulence and other R-rated jokes (largely delivered by Melissa McCarthy of "Mike & Molly)."  (You can view the trailer here.)

The whole enterprise raises the question of whether Apatow's innovations translate across gender lines. The filmmaker broke ground over the past six years by combining the gross-out with sweetness. If it felt revolutionary, it was because most male comedies usually lacked the latter.

The female version, by necessity, kind of has to try the opposite. We've seen the treacly women-bonding movie before, but will it all feel fresh with the right amount of pointed R-rated observation (and will it come off better than the scatological humor in "Sex and the City")? If you broke out more than one or two smiles at the trailer, you have a more ticklish funny bone than we (and several of our female colleagues) do. Then again, some of the Apatow crew's best humor is situational, so maybe best to give a first trailer the benefit of the doubt. For now.

-- Steven Zeitchik


 Photo: "Bridesmaids." Credit: Suzanne Hanover / Universal Pictures

Preview review: Jonah Hill and Russell Brand in 'Get Him to the Greek'

February 12, 2010 |  4:45 pm


We've long been anticipating "Get Him to the Greek," the movie from Judd Apatow protege Nicholas Stoller who worked with Jason Segel on the enjoyable breakup comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." Thankfully, the trailer for the new Universal film -- a kind of spin-off of "Sarah Marshall" -- doesn't disappoint.

Russell Brand and Jonah Hill are both back in this movie. In "Sarah Marshall," Hill's sycophantic character idolized rock god Aldous Snow (Brand). In this film, Hill plays a different character, Aaron, who still admires Snow but this time lands a gig working as his assistant.

The first few seconds of the trailer make it clear that many of our favorites from the Apatow gang will be back-- Aziz Ansari and, of course, Hill. In the trailer, Aaron's bright idea is to put on an anniversary concert with Snow at the famed Los Angeles venue the Greek Theatre.  Sean "Diddy" Combs plays a hard-edged music executive looking for a way to make a buck (and seems to be able to pull off the comedy -- "I got six kids! You know how many Air Jordans six black kids wear?" he screams to a room of underlings).

Diddy sends Aaron to London to retrieve Snow, and a comedy of errors ensues, many of which are pretty raunchy -- Aaron having sex on a toilet in a nightclub and later sneaking Snow's illegal drugs into the country with an interesting, er, anatomical trick.

But there are still plenty of questions. After "Funny People" fell flat, will the Apatow-produced film be able to bring the laughs? Can the movie succeed without Segel in front of the camera? After two years of hosting the MTV Video Music Awards, are you Russell Brand-ed out? Share your thoughts (and comic asides) below.

-- Amy Kaufman

[For the Record, 2:20 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said Jonah Hill's character in "Get Him to the Greek" was the same character he played in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." Hill did appear in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," but is playing a new character in "Get Him to the Greek."]

Photo: Jonah Hill and Russell Brand in "Get Him to the Greek." Credit: Universal Pictures.


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