24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Comedy

Cannes 2012: Is 'Sapphires' a fine gem or costume jewelry?

May 20, 2012 |  5:26 am

Last week at this time, even attentive Cannes-goers hadn't heard of "The Sapphires," an Australian comedy about an Aboriginese singing troupe that's directed by an unknown and featured no prominent stars.

But as is often the case at a festival, Wayne Blair's 1968-set movie -- which centers on a quartet of struggling Aussie singers who find unlikely fame in Vietnam performing for U.S. troops -- vaulted from obscurity in the blink of an eye. And as is also often the case at festivals, Harvey Weinstein was the reason for the jump.

As Cannes was getting underway last Wednesday, Weinstein bought the movie's U.S. distribution rights -- he would go on to pick up three movies in three days -- putting the film on the map for festival-goers. On Saturday "The Sapphires’" stock rose further after a spirited premiere screening that saw the  unknown Australians who play the singers (Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell) as well as Irish actor Chris O'Dowd (who plays their manager) get rousing ovations.

Weinstein stoked the flame further when, later that night at a party for his Cannes film "Lawless," he walked up to a reporter and, grabbing the reporter's arm, said: "Have you seen ‘The Sapphires’? ‘The Artist’ just happened again."

Fans of the film said that while it may be a little too soon to make that proclamation, the movie’s music, comedy and feel-good premise position it strongly for breakout success.

But not all Cannes-goers were on board. Around the festival's parties Saturday night and the screening halls Sunday morning, some said the whole thing had the feeling of classic Weinstein showmanship. While the naysayers acknowledged that the film (which is not yet dated for release) had crowd-pleasing elements, it was nothing that hadn't been done before or better in working-man comedies like "The Full Monty."

And others pointed out that it was unlikely to get anywhere close to the critical support of "The Artist." Indeed, a quick survey of critics around Cannes suggested that the film did not measure up to the festival’s top offerings. As Variety critic Justin Chang tweeted a few hours after he had seen Michael Haneke's "Love," "A film like 'Love' reminds you of the folly of festivals. Went straight to 'Sapphires' afterward, resented having Haneke's spell broken."

Festivals are often about the delicate game of managing expectations. The same movie can be a masterpiece or a disappointment depending on whether people see it believing it should or will be great. Weinstein has now set the bar high. We'll see if he meets it...or moves on to another acquisition.


Cannes 2012: Redoing Romeo and Juliet for the Twilight generation

Cannes 2012: Gael Garcia Bernal says 'No'

Cannes 2012: Shia LaBeouf's 'Lawless,' parable for the drug war?

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: "The Sapphires." Credit: The Weinstein Co.

Deborah Mailman ... Gail 27,563 
Jessica Mauboy ... Julie 49,477 
Shari Sebbens ... Kay 44,598 
Miranda Tapsell ... Cynthia

L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival goes for big laughs, big breaks

April 26, 2012 |  7:00 am

LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival
You might say the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday night in downtown Los Angeles, was born amid tragedy. Co-founders Gary Anthony Williams and Jeannie Roshar, both actors and comedians, got the idea for the event while showing a humorous short at a surprisingly glum film festival in San Diego.

"Our little comedy was sandwiched between all these tragedies where literally in every one of them, somebody died," Williams said. "Nothing but death and destruction, and then there was our happy comedy."

The incident inspired them to create the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival. Now in its fourth year, the festival runs Thursday to Sunday and aims to showcase and foster comedic talent with screenings, panel discussions, a screenwriting competition, nightly parties and a closing awards ceremony.

Highlights from this year's schedule include Thursday's celebrity short film block with work by Margaret Cho, Michael Cera and David Alan Grier; a discussion Friday with screenwriter Buck Henry ("The Graduate," "Catch-22"); and a panel Saturday titled "Famous People Talking About S&*%." Daily screenings will be held at the Downtown Independent theater, and buses will shuttle attendees to nighttime events at venues such as the Conga Room, the Kyoto Grand Hotel and Exchange L.A.

Williams, a comedy veteran who has written for "Malcolm in the Middle," acted on "Boston Legal" and done voice work on "The Boondocks," said one of the festival's initial goals was to encourage aspiring actors and comedians to create short films they could use as calling cards to show their skills. The festival's timing has also proved fortuitous as the popularity of short videos on the Web has exploded in recent years.

"Now there are so many short-form comedy content providers on the Internet," Williams said, citing websites such as Fremantle Media's Atomic Wedgie, Yahoo Screen, and Funny or Die (a festival sponsor). "Everybody's looking for producers and writers and people who can make stuff really funny, really well and really fast."

Past festival winners have gone on to work for companies such as Fremantle, Disney and CTV, Williams said.

Williams and Roshar's other goal for the festival is to entertain audiences, and one of the benefits of screening shorts, according to Williams, is that viewers are bound to see something they like.

"I guarantee you, you're going to laugh," he said, "or I'm going to let you punch me in the throat. One or the other. It's a punch-in-the-throat guarantee I'm offering."


Funny or Die on a mission to live large

KTLA previews L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival [video]

-- Oliver Gettell

Photo: Attendees at the 2011 L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival. Credit: L.A. Comedy Shorts

'The Three Stooges' draws laughs, shrugs and rebukes from critics

April 13, 2012 |  1:24 pm

The Three Stooges

"The Three Stooges," a new comedy based on the vaudeville trio, has been a passion project for brothers Peter and Bobby Farrelly ("There's Something About Mary," "Dumb & Dumber") for years.

Reviewers of the film, which opened Friday, tend to fall into three camps: those who find it lighthearted and funny enough to appeal to Stooges fans and newcomers alike, those who find it harmless but mostly unnecessary except for aficionados, and those who find it a complete waste of time.

Among the first group is L.A. Times film critic Betsy Sharkey, who says "it's almost impossible not to be won over by the eye-poking, head-slapping, nose-twisting shenanigans that pepper nearly every scene." The film isn't ironic or winking, just silly, and it "simply requires that cynicism be temporarily shelved and the thinking side of the brain shut down." The Farrellys, Sharkey says, are "a good fit" for the material, and two of the three lead actors — Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe, "the film's anchor," and Will Sasso as Curly — perform admirably. Sean Hayes is less successful as Larry, but the film remains "a very amusing escape."

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Sundance 2012: Tim and Eric walk into a film festival

January 28, 2012 |  2:57 pm

Comedians Tim Heidecker, left, and Eric Wareheim in Park City, Utah.
Nobody does absurdity quite like Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, better known by their personas of Tim and Eric:  hapless bunglers with a mean streak, part lovable friends, part total jerks. So it somehow makes sense they should have two very different projects this year at Sundance, a place where absurdity often reigns, a weird mix of glitz and grunge, scrounging and branding, swag in the snow.

The duo premiered their own debut feature film, "Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie" here as part of the Midnight section, playing to crowds beyond their usual fans. They also both appear as actors in the Narrative Competition film "The Comedy," directed by Rick Alverson. One film is a ridiculous tour of their comedic world and the other a quietly crushing look at coming to the stark realization of what a mess you are.

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Sundance 2012: Seth Rogen's phone-sex moment

January 28, 2012 |  2:37 pm



Of the many things you might expect when you walk into a Sundance movie, a cameo from a member of the Judd Apatow crew isn't at the top of the list.

But there was one of those insiders, Seth Rogen, materializing on-screen during the risqué comedy "For a Good Time, Call…" As a phone-sex call is made to protagonists Katie and Lauren (played by Ari Graynor and the film’s co-writer, Lauren Anne Miller), two economically desperate twentysomething women who've started a phone-sex line in their New York apartment, Rogen pops up on screen, wearing a pilot’s uniform and engaging in a solitary sexual act in an airport bathroom as he banters dirtily with the women.

The sight of the actor prompted a peal of laughter at the movie’s premiere at Sundance earlier this week. As the back-and-forth unfolds, Rogen rips off one of the best lines of the film when, as things heat up on the phone, he calls out to a crew member in the next stall to “Delay the flight.”

There’s a reason the comic actor wound up in the movie: Miller is his wife.
"I remember Seth and I were brushing our teeth one night and I said 'Wouldn't it be great if we got some comedians to do cameos as some of the callers,' " Miller recounted to 24 Frames. "And then I said, 'Wait, would you do it?' And he said 'Totally.' "

Though he has no formal role on the picture outside of the cameo, Rogen advised Miller and visited the set. “I would be silly not to listen to the person who is extremely successful at doing what I’m trying to do,” Miller said.

Rogen isn't the only raunch-comedy mainstay to have an unexpected moment in the film -- witness Kevin Smith as a cab driver who rings up the phone-sex line while a passenger waits in the backseat.

With its raunchy story of female friendship, "Good Time" has evoked the inevitable comparisons to the Apatow-godfathered “Bridesmaids.” Miller said she showed the movie to several people in the filmmaker's posse but not yet the director himself, who has been working on a new movie.

Filmgoers will get a chance to see the movie and Rogen’s surprise spot -- Focus Features acquired the comedy and will release it domestically. “I feel like that women who watch movies have been subconsciously wanting this,” Miller said. "I hope this is only the beginning of real stories about real women.”


Sundance 2012: 'Bachelorette,' sort of like 'Bridesmaids'

Sundance 2012: Bawdy flicks with chicks, but don't say 'Bridesmaids'

Sundance: 2012 Spike Lee says studios 'know nothing about black people'

-- Steven Zeitchik in Park City, Utah


Photo: Seth Rogen. Credit: Chris Helcermanas-Benge / Summit Entertainment

Oscar nominations 2012: Groundling alums make good showing

January 24, 2012 |  1:41 pm

Click for photos of reactions from the top nominees

Funny thing happened on the way to the Oscars -- a detour through the Groundlings comedy improv troupe resulted in five Oscar nominations for alumni on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles-based proving ground for such comic talents as Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz and Paul Reubens has a whole new class of graduates to celebrate as writers Jim Rash  and Nat Faxon received a nomination for their "Descendants" script (adapted screenplay), Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo were tapped in original screenplay for “Bridesmaids,” and Melissa McCarthy earned a nod for her raucous supporting turn in “Bridesmaids.”

“We have had Emmy nominations in the past, but this is our big Oscar day,” said Heather de Michele, managing director of the Groundlings Theatre and School.

PHOTOS: Oscar nominees react

With "The Help's" best picture nod, writer-director Tate Taylor is also making the troupe proud. De Michelle added that “The Help” supporting actress nominee Octavia Spencer is a “friend of the Groundlings,” so there's another mini-celebration to be had.  

“In order to be a Groundling, you not only have to have done extensive improv performing, you have had to have done some sketch writing,” said De Michele. “That is what is benefiting this great group of talent now."

And while students attend the Groundlng school, they have to hone their improv performance and writing skills. " 'The Sunday Company' is the top level [of the school],” De Michele said. “Every Sunday night, you have to do new material for six months. It’s like boot camp. At any given time we have 300 students."

Currently, there are 26 members of the Groundlings troupe. Rash, she said, is the only active member among Tuesday's Oscar nominees. Not only does he direct the group, “he performs all the time on our stage. And he does occasionally teach upper levels,” De Michele said.

In fact, Rash said Tuesday morning, he would be heading to the theater that night. “I have to go teach this class tonight,” he said. “I’m covering for someone. I have been teaching and directing there for 10-plus years. We have a little workshop tonight for an opening at the theater. They all know about the film, so they better be respectful and listen tonight.”

De Michele said that the Oscar nominations will undoubtedly help the theater company, which began in 1974.

“It’s very exciting,” she said. “With the success of ‘Bridesmaids,' we saw a huge boost of enrollment in women who wanted to be comedians!”


And the nominees are...

PHOTOS: 84th Academy Awards nominees

Pals Clooney, Pitt are rivals; ‘Artist,’ ‘Hugo’ dominate

--Susan King

 Photo: Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo at the Golden Globes early last week. Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Sundance 2012: Bawdy flicks with chicks, but don't say 'Bridesmaids'

January 20, 2012 |  6:23 pm

Dramas at the Sundance Film Festival for a long time came in two shades — dark and darker. At this year’s gathering, though, filmgoers are being treated to a cluster of very different movies: risque, female-driven comedies that would make the women of “Bridesmaids” proud — or blush.

A film about three young women indulging in drugs and all manner of debauchery before the wedding of a disliked high school classmate? Check. A sometimes off-color look at two sisters with differing attitudes toward monogamy? Certainly. Two financially desperate twentysomethings who start a phone sex line from their apartment? Start dialing.

“Sundance has always been pretty good about promoting female directors, but what we’re seeing this year is women as protagonists, driving the plot,” said festival director John Cooper. “The comedies go to all levels, from glossy to raunchy.” Cooper said that programmers didn’t actively seek out women behaving badly; they were simply well-represented among the thousands of submissions the festival received this year.

The new movies follow in the path of established young female writers such as Diablo Cody and Liz Meriwether. But at least a portion of the credit goes to “Bridesmaids,” the Kristen Wiig movie that became a cultural phenomenon last year and has sent strong ripples through not only Hollywood but also, more improbably, independent filmmaking.

Though many of the directors with female-driven pictures in Sundance this year were working on their movies long before Universal Pictures released “Bridesmaids” last May, nearly all were aware of the Paul Feig-directed film, which spent years in development before reaching the big screen. In the case of the pre-wedding debauchery comedy “Bachelorette,” the filmmakers even used the success of “Bridesmaids” to secure financing for their movie last summer.

“Bachelorette” writer-director Leslye Headland, who penned the script in 2008 based on an off-Broadway play she created, bristles at the comparison to “Bridesmaids,” even going so far as to issue a director’s statement that lays out the differences. (Others here don’t like having their indie films being compared to the Hollywood hit either; it is Sundance, after all.)

Still, Headland acknowledged that her movie, which is being produced by Will Ferrell, was greenlighted this summer and has gained a higher profile due to the success of “Bridesmaids.”

“I look at it a little like ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ in 1967,” said Headland, who’s in her early 30s. “You have a movie that gets everyone’s attention and all these comparisons are drawn and they’re not always right. But then it’s like, ‘Thank God, let’s make more movies like that.’”

Lauren Miller, who co-wrote the phone-sex film “For a Good Time, Call . . .” — which is based on the experience of her co-writer, a friend and college roommate named Katie Anne Naylon — said that the pair encountered a lot of resistance when they tried to set up the film at a studio (pre-”Bridesmaids”). They eventually decided to finance it independently with the help of Miller’s brother, who works on Wall Street.

Paradoxically, the result is a film that would have slotted in nicely on any studio’s post-”Bridesmaids” wish list. “We wanted it to be a girl’s story that followed the traditional romantic comedy format, but with females,” she said. “It’s about us falling in love as friends, not falling in love with our boyfriends.” (Miller has until now been known to the public as the wife of Seth Rogen; the actor has a cameo in “For a Good Time, Call . . .”)

Just as Wiig and Feig did in “Bridesmaids,” filmmakers and actors say that they believed all of the Sundance movies (all of which are seeking theatrical distribution at the festival) are willing to explore female characters in a way a previous generation wasn’t: by showing them to be as flawed, base and, yes, funny as men. Female characters can also screw up things just as royally.

On top of that, they say, women can just make for better entertainment. “I actually think women’s particular insanity is more interesting to watch,” said actress Lizzy Caplan, who stars in “Bachelorette” and another femme-centric film at Sundance, “Save the Date,” about two sisters who fight over how to navigate their romantic relationships. “Our neuroses make us better characters.”

Michael Mohan, 32, who directed “Save the Date,” said that the indie “Bridesmaids” boom is the result of filmmakers who want to tell a story in a way that studio films usually don’t — it’s a reaction, essentially, to the happily-ever-after endings of big-budget romantic comedies.

We’re basically “the first generation to have their parents’ marriage end in divorce,” he said. “That puts a gray cloud of skepticism over our relationships as we enter them, and I think you’re starting to see that in the work.”

Though the raunch factor can vary, other movies premiering here also put women front-and-center: There’s a high school dramedy called “The First Time” (directed by Jon Kasdan, son of writer-director Lawrence Kasdan); a breakup story titled “Celeste and Jesse Forever” starring and co-written by Rashida Jones; and the sometimes-risque “Hello I Must Be Going,” about a thirtysomething woman who strikes up a relationship with a 19-year-old.

Of course, it is Sundance. There are still plenty of difficult films — in the coming days, documentaries about hunger, rape in the military and AIDS unspool. And even the raunchy female comedies are more subtle than broad.

“I’m happy that ‘Bridesmaids’ will get [butts] in seats,” Caplan said. “But what I’m also excited about is that people will come in to see a movie because they hear it’s about female friends at a wedding. And then they’re going to be very surprised to see it’s something totally different.”


Sundance 2012: 'Beasts' sparks a flood of strong reaction

Sundance 2012: Magnolia gets 'Queen of Versailles' in 2nd fest deal

Sundance 2012: Sony unit buys 'Searching for Sugar Man'

-- Steve Zeitchik in Park City, Utah

Photo: A scene from "Bachelorette." Credit: Jacob Hutchings

'Arrested Development' vet, CollegeHumor team for new pic

January 11, 2012 |  6:00 pm



EXCLUSIVE: Hoping to follow in the wacky footsteps of National Lampoon, the digital-comedy company CollegeHumor is making a foray into the film business.

The firm has signed on to make a movie about thirtysomething underachievers called "Coffee Town," buying a script from former "Arrested Development" writer-producer Brad Copeland and hiring him to direct it.

A group of up-and-comers will star in the film, including Glenn Howerton (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), Steve Little (“Eastbound & Down”) and Ben Schwartz (“House of Lies”), along with singer Josh Groban, executives said. The low-budget movie, which is being financed by CollegeHumor, aims to begin shooting in February in Los Angeles.

Though known primarily for its slapstick Web videos across a network of sites, CollegeHumor has been branching out to other platforms. The company, which is owned by the Barry Diller-led IAC, had a short-lived MTV show and also has spun off several books. The current MTV series “Pranked,” which features user-submitted prank videos , is hosted by Streeter Seidell and Amir Blumenfeld, two CollegeHumor personalities.

The goal with “Coffee Town,” CollegeHumor co-founder Ricky Van Veen said, is to take advantage of the firm’s in-house talent as well as use its brand to reach into other media.

“We think we can leverage what we’ve done into longer things, including features and TV shows,” said Van Veen, noting that content on CollegeHumor sites has in some cases already evolved from shorts into half-hour episodes.  “There’s a market for high-quality long-form content that can go directly to consumers, and we’re well-positioned to do that.” 

He cited a paid Web special from Louis C.K. that has gained attention in the digital world as a profitable enterprise for its creator.

Van Veen said there have been no decisions made on whether to distribute “Coffee Town” online, though he did note that the site would be used to promote the film. “Coffee Town” does not yet have traditional theatrical distribution; it is expected to seek that, but other models are being considered as well, Van Veen said.

Centering on Will, a website manager (Howerton), and his friends who regularly drop in (Little and Schwartz), “Coffee Town” will look at a group of close-knit buddies in a familiar setting. “It’s a little like ‘Cheers,’” Copeland, who also wrote the 2008 Harley hit “Wild Hogs,” told 24 Frames. “They go about their day, but they always end up in the same place.” (Groban, sending up his own image, will star as a barista who wants to be a singer but is doomed by a lack of talent.)

Continue reading »

Around Town: 'Mad, Mad World' and other comedy classics

December 29, 2011 |  6:00 pm

"Animal Crackers" at the Aero Theatre

The American Cinematheque is ringing in the New Year with some wild and crazy comedy classics.

The Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre is serving up a 70-millimeter print of Stanley Kramer’s lengthy, wacky all-star 1963 comedy, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” starring such comedy legends as Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Edie Adams, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Dick Shawn,  Phil Silvers, Don Knotts, Carl Reiner, Terry-Thomas and even Spencer Tracy. They're all embroiled in a cross-country chase to find $350,000 in stolen money. Kramer’s widow, Karen Sharpe Kramer, and his daughter, Kat Kramer, will introduce the film.

The Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre continues its annual “Screwball Comedy Classics" with two Preston Sturges gems he made in 1941: “Sullivan’s Travels,” with Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake, and “The Lady Eve,” starring Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda and Charles Coburn. The genius of Carole Lombard is on display Friday evening at the Aero with the 1936 screwball classic “My Man Godfrey,” for which she received her only Oscar nomination. The film also stars her ex-husband, Willilam Powell, who also earned a lead actor nod. She’s even funnier in the second feature, the 1934 Howard Hawks’ comedy, “20th Century,” in which she matches wits and quips with John Barrymore

And the Aero goes Marxist on New Year’s Day with a Marx Brothers double bill: 1932’s “Horse Feathers” and 1930’s “Animal Crackers,” in which Groucho sings “Hooray for Captain Spaulding.” Wednesday’s screwball offerings are William Wyler’s enchanting and rarely screened 1935 comedy, “The Good Fairy,” starring Margaret Sullavan and penned by Preston Sturges, and 1936’s “Theodora Goes Wild,” with Irene Dunne in her Oscar-nominated turn as a young woman from a small town who writes sexy bestsellers. www.americancinematheque.com

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Tuesday matinee also features a Howard Hawks masterwork, 1940’s “His Girl Friday,” with a perfectly cast Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell and Ralph Bellamy. www.lacma.org

For those looking for a bit more dramatic fare, the Egyptian is presenting a 70mm print of one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most acclaimed thrillers, 1958’s “Vertigo,” with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. Bernard Herrmann supplied the evocative score, parts of which pop up in the current hit “The Artist.” On Sunday, the Egyptian is offering a triple bill of Robert Zemeckis’ “Back to the Future” trilogy, starring Michael J. Fox as the irrepressible time traveler Marty McFly. www.americancinematheque.com

Francois Truffaut’s homages to Alfred Hitchcock, 1968’s “The Bride Wore Black” and 1969’s “Mississippi Mermaid,” screen Thursday and Friday at the New Beverly. The acclaimed “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and the documentary “Project Nim” are scheduled for Sunday through Tuesday. Werner Herzog’s documentary “Into the Abyss” and Errol Morris’ 1999 “Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter” are on tap for Wednesday. www.newbevcinema.com

The controversial 2000 Japanese film “Battle Royale,” directed by Kinji Fukasaku, continues through Tuesday at Cinefamily’s Silent Movie Theatre. Scheduled for Wednesday is the 1927 silent “The Loves of Casanova,” directed by Alexandre Volkoff. www.cinefamily.org



"Reliving the Madness"

— Susan King

Photo: Harp Marx, center, gets his point across in "Animal Crackers." Credit: Universal.

SAG Awards: Melissa McCarthy, Judd Apatow talk 'Bridesmaids' noms

December 14, 2011 | 10:17 am


The breakout hit "Bridesmaids" might have been one of the biggest surprise inclusions in the SAG Awards roster of ensemble nominees, but the film's producer Judd Apatow said the recognition was richly deserved for the group of actresses that anchored the Kristen Wiig-Annie Mumolo scripted comedy.

"I was hopeful they would be acknowledged," said Apatow, who was waiting until after he dropped his kids off at school to call the leading ladies to congratulate them. "They are so deserving it’s ridiculous. I’m excited for them because many of them worked together at [comedy troupe] the Groundlings. They have developed as comediennes for a really long time."

Melissa McCarthy, who was nominated separately in the supporting actress category, was elated that it was her fellow actors who bestowed the ensemble cast with a nomination.

"It felt like there were 1,500 Groundlings in this movie," said McCarthy, who was awake Wednesday morning trying to potty-train her young daughter. "It's pretty amazing. We all scrounged for our own costumes and did all this stuff at the Groundlings. To be doing the same kind of work, but on that level and then to have it recognized, it is a little surreal."

It's been a good year for McCarthy, who in September nabbed an Emmy Award for her role in CBS' "Mike and Molly" in one of the most memorable moments of the ceremony.

Apatow, who marks his first SAG nomination with "Bridesmaids," attributes the film's success to its themes and its female-dominated cast.

"It's a comedy about friendship, about people growing up and worrying about growing apart. It also just happens to star these brilliantly funny actresses," he said. "Plus, people are supportive of the idea that it's ridiculous that there aren't a ton of movies about women intended for not just a female audience but to be something that isn't just for men, that women are drawn to.

"I've been told that women are actually 51% of the population," he joked.


Photos: SAG Awards top nominees

SAG Awards: 'The Help,' 'Bridesmaids' among cast nominees

SAG Awards: Does 'Bridesmaids' love up comedy's Oscar chances?

-- Nicole Sperling

Photo: From left, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rose Byrne, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph and Ellie Kemper in "Bridesmaids." Credit: Suzanne Hanover / Universal


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