Tag Archives: Judd Apatow

Wanderlust – Just Seen It Movie Review

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After he loses his job, George and his wife Linda must moves from NYC to live with his brother in Atlanta. But on their drive south, they discover a commune right out of the 1960s. Deciding to leave the rat race behind, George and Linda give the commune life a try in WANDERLUST.

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Alan Alda and Malin Akerman.
Directed by David Wain.
Written by David Wain and Ken Marino.
Produced by Judd Apatow, Ken Marino and David Wain.
Genre: Comedy.

Bridesmaids – Two Crap Trailers; One Pretty Darned Funny Movie!


I think I laughed maybe twice over the course of the two trailers for Bridesmaids. Despite this, I decided that I would check out the film for a couple of reasons – the producing directing team of Judd Apatow and Paul Feig, and the combination of Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy. It didn’t hurt that Wiig also co-wrote the film. The result is about 75% hilarious and 50% cringeworthy [there’s a 25% overlap…].

Continue reading Bridesmaids – Two Crap Trailers; One Pretty Darned Funny Movie!

MOVIE REVIEW: Funny People – Life, Death & Penis Jokes!

For his third film as a director, Judd Apatow wanted to tackle something a little deeper than a one-night stand that resulted in a baby or a sexual late bloomer with goofy friends. I can almost see him in the “reading room” when the proverbial light bulb goes off above his head and he shouts, “Imminent death! Of course!”


And so we have a film about a crisis in the life of America’s most beloved comedian, George Simmons [Adam Sandler], who gets the news that he has the rare and usually fatal disease, AML. To balance the darkness of George’s plight, we get a look into the life of wannabe stand-up comic, Evan Wright [Seth Rogen] who works at Otto’s Deli alongside a fellow named Chuck [RZA] who thinks so little of his skills that Evan has to pay him to attend his next performance.

Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: Funny People – Life, Death & Penis Jokes!

DVD REVIEW: Freaks and Geeks: The Yearbook Edition –Amazing Series; Amazing Package!


I’ve had my review copy of Freaks and Geeks: Yearbook Edition for awhile – but only now have I managed to get through all of its many features. This is the kind of DVD package that you have to actually see, full-size, to really appreciate.

Freaks and Geeks, of course, is the classic one-season wonder set in 1980 that revolved around siblings Lindsay [Linda Cardellini] and Sam Weir [John Francis Daley]. Unlike other shows that used metaphors for “high is hell” [Buffy the Vampire Slayer], or “high school is cruel” [Veronica Mars], Freaks and Geeks proud asserted that high school is real – and it may seem earth-shattering while you’re, but in the end? It’s high school. By using siblings who were at different ends of the school population’s periphery, the series [all eighteen episodes] gave us a look at an institution that was far more real than we’d seen before – and because we saw it through the filter of a newbie freak [Lindsay] and an entrenched geek [Sam], it brought back all the epic highs and devastating lows of that period of our lives.

Continue reading DVD REVIEW: Freaks and Geeks: The Yearbook Edition –Amazing Series; Amazing Package!

MOVIE REVIEW: Pineapple Express: The Apatow Comedy Factory Narrowly Averts Disaster!

Seth Rogen may have used his action sequences in Pineapple Express to audition for his upcoming The Green Hornet, but despite action sequences choreographed for humor as well as thrills, his earnestness in them almost takes deflates the good-natured stoner buddy comedy that Pineapple Express really is.

Dale Saves Saul

Dale Denton [Rogen] is a process server who loves his job [mostly because of the costumes he uses to fake out his victims – and the time it affords for smoking up]. After a day of multiple disguises, he stops at his dealer’s place. There, Saul Silver [James Franco] hooks him up with some Pineapple Express – smoke so potent that you can high just smelling it! From there, Dale heads off for one last delivery before calling it a day – a summons for Ted Jones [the comically malevolent Gary Cole], the dealer who supplies Red [Danny McBride], Saul’s supplier. When Dale witnesses Ted and a policewoman [Rosie Perez] kill an Asian man, he freaks out and tosses his roach of PE – which in turn leads Ted to Saul, via Red and things go from easy flowing and happy, to omigawdomigawdomigawd! And I haven’t even mentioned Dale’s high school student girlfriend, yet…

If Harold and Kumar are the stoner Hope & Crosby, then Dale and Saul are the stoner Riggs and Murtagh. Director David Gordon Green somehow manages to takes Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg’s split personality script and makes it feel like a single piece. The action sequences ramp up the tension, but much of the choreography and stunt work have elements of humor to them that hold the film together despite Rogen’s dead serious approach to them. Fortunately, between the ridiculous action, Franco’s ability to just bliss out – even when under fire – and some way out bits with McBride’s Red, the goofily genial absurdity of the film is maintained.

Although Pineapple Express is the weakest of the productions from the Apatow Comedy Factory, it remains, largely, above the average because of its slightly hallucinogenic bromance and its integrity when it comes to maintaining its overall upbeat mood. And did I mention Danny McBride’s Red? Definitely one of the best parts of the flick…

Final Grade: B-

Reviewing Forgetting Sarah Marshall In 300 Words or Less


Forgetting Sarah Marshall is doomed to be remembered as “that naked break-up movie” though it’s considerably more. For one thing, the naked break-up is a simultaneously funny and poignant scene and Jason Segel’s performance as Peter [the breakee] is staggeringly vulnerable. For another, that vulnerability continues to come into play when Peter tries to get away from it all at the same Hawaiian resort where Sarah [Kristin Bell] is staying with her rock god boyfriend. In turn, Peter’s heartbreak is tempered by Rachel [Mila Kunis], a pretty, intelligent hotel employee who has also had a miserable heartbreak.

Segel‘s script meanders a bit, but those wanderings lead to emotional payoffs that make sense – especially when news that the TV series that stars Sarah, and for which he composes the “dark, ominous tones,” has been cancelled. A comment from Rachel leads Peter to finish his dream project [a rock opera for puppets – about Dracula and his search for True Love], while Aldous’ [the rock god, played by Russell Brand] behavior has Sarah rethinking leaving Peter.

Director Nicholas Stoller keeps the wandering script focused and gets terrific performances from his entire cast. Check out supporting work by the reliable Paul Rudd [as a goofy surfing guru] and Jonah Hill as Aldous’ number one fan. Stoller understands the necessity for an extra beat in a quiet moment and how to set up a gag without being obvious. As a result, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of the best films to come out of the Judd Apatow crude-with-a-heart comedy factory. I may not have laughed as often as the lady behind me, but I did laugh and smile and chuckle enough to recommend Forgetting Sarah Marshall as more than your daily recommended dose of fun.

Final Grade: B+

Movie Review – Forgetting Sarah Marshall


Hey it’s been a whole two or three months since the last Judd Apatow produced flick.  This time he applies his successful comedy formula to Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I’ve figured out the method to Apatow’s success, he uses the same script and characters in all of his films only he switches between teen comedies and adult comedies. But all of his films are essentially the same. I will say, as a hater, that with Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I’m finally aboard the Apatow train. The funny thing about this movie is, that it’s not that funny. Oh, you’ll get a few chuckles, but it’s not laugh out loud funny. It actually tries to be a little subtle and show more heart.

Star and Writer Jason Segel, who wrote the wretched Knocked Up and director Nicholas Stoller (who also directed the upcoming Pineapple Express) have crafted a cute story about a television composer, Peter Breter (Segel) who gets dumped by his television star girlfriend, played by Kristen Bell who is really stretching her acting abilities here. In one of the film’s funnier moments he tries to forget her by having a series of one night stands. When this doesn’t work his brother in law, Brian (Bill Hader) tells him to take a vacation.  Naturally this doesn’t work because Sarah just happens to be there with her new lover, a sex crazed rock star (Russell Brand).  The first hour of Marshall fills a little long in the tooth, we get that Peter just got dumped we don’t need to have it beaten into the ground. The more we see of Sarah the less we like her. The film does a good job of showing balance, we see Sarah through Peter’s rose tinted eyes and as she really is – the cliched, vapid, Hollywood Actress who doesn’t know what she wants and becomes competitive when she realizes that Peter has started hanging out with the Front Desk Clerk. The movie looks amazingly beautiful, but then it’s almost impossible to make Hawaii look ugly.  

I love Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars but the more I see her outside of her trademark role, the less I like her. It doesn’t seem like she’s really trying that hard, she just is. I think the surprise in this film was Russell Brand who had most of the good bits in this. Segel does a great job of making you care about Peter but I almost couldn’t get past his uncanny resemblance to Judge Reinhold.  Marshall is a cute little, forgettable film.

Final Grade B-

EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally Posted 4.18.2008

Drillbit Taylor: Low-Budget Bodyguard Ekes Out Just Enough Laughs!

Drillbit Taylor Review EclipseMagazine.com Movies

This small effort from the Jud Apatow funny factory skips the f-bombs but still manages to be funnier than at least one of his R-rated efforts.

What can you do when you’re corpulent, skeletal or really, really short and are facing your first day of high school? Apparently, you can expect to get thumped on a regular basis; crammed into lockers, trophy displays and such; and get kicked when you’re down.

How can you avoid these problems? Well, there’s always Drillbit Taylor: Budget Bodyguard. As played by Owen Wilson, Drillbit is a homeless deserter who stumbles into a great scam – charging three kids of the aforementioned general builds for teaching them to keep the school bully and his equally malevolent sidekick from using them as punching bags.

The three are the corpulent Ryan [Troy Gentile], the really, really short Emmit [David Dorfman] and the skeletal Wade [Nate Hartley. The bullies are Filkins [Alex Frost, apparently taking his bully role from Elephant and making him a complete psycho] and his sidekick, Ronnie [Josh Peck] – and they are definitely serial killers in training.

The Kristofor Brown/Seth Rogen screenplay features more physical violence than all three of the other hits to come from The Judd Apatow production line [I guess something has to escalate to fill the space of all those missing cuss words]. Steven Brill’s direction is pretty straightforward – the pace picks up for the violence; slows slightly for the jokes [allowing beats for audience response], and slows appropriately for the one romantic plot arc.

Drillbit Taylor Review EclipseMagazine.com Movies

It’s the romantic arc between Drillbit, faking his way as a substitute teacher, and the lovely, but lovelorn Lisa [Leslie Mann, who is brilliant as usual] that brings the homeless con man out of his scam and into admitting that he actually likes his intended victims. This revelation occurs just in time to try to stop his equally homeless friends from stealing all of Wade’s family’s possessions.

For Wilson, the character of Drillbit pretty much plays to his strengths: aw shucks charm with an underpinning of darkness. He’s fast on his feet, though not as much as he thinks he is – and, of course, when it comes down to crunch time, he makes the right choices even if the result won’t be that good for him.

The punching bag trio come from the usual assortment of circumstances: Wade’s mom re-married a guy who is proud of having been a bully in school and has two sons who look to be following in his footsteps; Ryan’s single mom dotes on him to the point of enabling his weight gain, and Emmit seems to appear from the ozone.

Filkins has become emancipated, and the idiot Principal Doppler – Stephen Root’s second most oblivious character [after Office Space’s Milton] – takes that to mean he’s a nice, honest boy who is being maligned by the trio’s allegations of violence. The only person outside the trio who seems to like Wade is a little Asian girl named Brooke [Valerie Tian], which is good because he has a definite crush on her – and has joined all the same clubs [including the Asian Heritage Club] as her in hopes that he’ll be able to work up the courage to talk to her.

Drillbit Taylor Review EclipseMagazine.com Movies

Ryan’s claim to fame is that he’s a not too terrible rapper – a sequence where he raps against Filkins is one of the movie’s highlights. Emmit, it seems, doesn’t have any notable skills, but shows an immense amount of courage at a crucial moment.

While the climax of the movie might not be what you’d expect – you’d think three nerds would outthink the bullies – there is an intelligence at play in their actions, especially in how they organize them. And there’s a moment near the end that harkens back what we are sure must be an apocryphal tale about Filkins – a perfectly timed bit of business that gives Wilson one final bravura moment to follow up his one moment of genuine heroism.

Sure, Drillbit Taylor doesn’t have the same level of language and gross humor as, say, Superbad, but it still has plenty of bodily function humor and decent sight gags. It never reaches the heights of Superbad, or Knocked Up, but I have to say I enjoyed it more than The 40-Year Old Virgin [despite Steve Carrell, I still don’t regard that one with much respect]. Drillbit Taylor is a little more violent than it needs to be, but it works well enough, overall, that I can recommend it – just.

Final Grade: C+

Drillbit Taylor – Michelle’s Review


Have I said lately how much I really dislike Judd Apatow movies and Seth Rogen? Their films are generally hollow, profanity laced, geek boy fantasies. Where the slobby, foul mouth, fat jerk always ends up with the hot chick.  Their formula is successful, but it’s cookie cutter beyond belief.  The only difference is they switch between “Adult fair,” to “Teen fair,” without changing their character template.  Their latest effort Drillbit Taylor is the same basic film as all of the other Apatow productions. But what amazed me is, I actually kind of liked Drillbit. I generally love Owen Wilson, but a little of him goes a very long way.  Drillbit is kind of a modern remake of an early 80’s film called “My Bodyguard.”  It’s every picked upon nerd’s fantasy. If you can’t handle the school bully, why not hire someone to do it for you?  In this case the school bully Filkins (Alex Frost) is wonderfully insane.  He has the makings of future serial killer written all over his face.  Filkins has the ability to go from ‘Eddie’ Haskell Jr. to Norman Bates with minimal effort.  Our two nerds – Wade (Nate Hartley) and Ryan (Troy Gentile) have a reason to be scared. Where Superbad failed Drillbit somehow worked for me.  It’s almost the exact same movie. Same characters only different situation.  And just like Superbad, I couldn’t stand the fat kid – Ryan the wannabe rapper.  He is so unlikable it’s a wonder his mother loves him. Was writer Seth Rogen this annoying as a kid? I hope not. Then again it probably explains a lot about why he seems incapable of creating original characters.


But despite this I liked this movie, Owen Wilson’s Drillbit is just like every other Owen Wilson character – a fast talking, scheming, liar who is always looking for the next score. Drillbit, a homeless man sees these rich nerds as his meal ticket and instead of fighting the bullies for the kids, trains them how to fight.  So he says.  Along the way even a loser like Drillbit finds a hot teacher Barbara (Beth Littleford) to fall for.  While this movie didn’t contain one laugh out loud moment, it did feel more like a real film than previous Apatow productions. It’s not as over the top as previous efforts. Director Steven Brill does a great job with pacing, although the montage where Filkins and his buddy are terrorizing the nerds seems to go on forever as does a lot of the scenes with Wilson training the kids. It’s cute in small doses, eventually it starts to get annoying. I know it sounds like I didn’t like this film but it actually did work for me. It wasn’t laugh out loud funny and have I said how much I hated that fat kid? This is a wait for cable kind of film.

Final Grade C

EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 4/21/08

Walk Hard is Just Funny Enough. Michelle Alexandria’s Review


For many people the quintessential rock and roll spoof is the classic mockumentary This is Spinal Tap. Walk Hard is a spoof of the Rock and Roll bio picture and the music industry, but it’s not trying to be Spinal Tap, and it’s not trying to be a spoof of E!’s True Hollywood Story.  Well, then again maybe it is.   Honestly, I’m not quite sure what it’s trying to be. The humor is not sophisticated, or dry, or even over the top. It goes for the sweet middle ground, and you know what?  That’s ok, because, for the most part this movie works.  The first 1/2 hour has some laugh out loud moments, 30 minutes into it, it clearly runs out of steam, but picks up again for the third act.

John C. Reilly‘s Dewy Cox is part Elvis crossed with Johnny Cash, his music makes girls go wild.  He eventually falls in love with his own June Cash, his backup singer Darlene Madison (played by Jenna Fischer) He’s chasing the dream of one day writing the perfect song that sums up his entire life.  Along the way he has a series of tragedies including the death of his brother and mother which sends him spiraling out of control and into a world of drugs given to him by his constantly high band mate Sam (Tim Meadows). That’s about all the plot you need to know.  

Continue reading Walk Hard is Just Funny Enough. Michelle Alexandria’s Review