Posts Tagged ‘judd apatow’

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Trainwreck (2015)

August 3, 2015

Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Lebron James, Brie Larson
Director: Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Funny People)

Bottom Line: Trainwreck is comedian Amy Schumer’s first starring role and she quickly establishes that she can carry her own comedy. More impressive, she wrote the film herself and it’s plenty funny while providing an entertaining narrative. In the film, Amy plays a 20-something career girl that was taught by her father that a life of monogamy is unrealistic, so she spends her nights bar-hopping and bringing various men home only to send them on their way before they can even think about sleeping over. Through her job, she meets a sports surgeon played by Bill Hader and they develop a relationship unlike any she’s experienced before.

I have to say I was impressed with the cast in this movie. I wasn’t surprised at all that Amy Schumer was funny and likable even though her character had some rather despicable traits. I could tell by watching her stand up that she has plenty of charisma and that she could be a rising comedic star. Trainwreck proves this fact. It will be interesting to see if she can keep the ball rolling, as a lot of comic actors have a tendency to wear out their welcome rather quickly (does anyone still look forward to a Will Ferrell movie?). What did surprise me was Bill Hader, who really seemed to have only one gear during his Saturday Night Live tenure and I never was a big fan of his style on the show. He plays it rather straight in Trainwreck and it’s a nice change of pace. Hader actually has some acting ability – and he still managed to be pretty funny. What surprised me more than anything was how awesome Lebron James was in his role. Granted, most of the credit should go to Schumer for writing LBJ a great role, but Lebron hams it up wonderfully without being so tongue-in-cheek that he comes across corny. He crushed it and his appearances on screen were the best parts of the movie, which is unfortunate because he mostly disappears during the second half.

Like most Judd Apatow movies, Trainwreck runs unnecessarily long, which makes it feel like it’s dragging at times, but Trainwreck is his strongest film since 2007’s Knocked Up. It provides just enough humor and drama to give the audience a genuine investment in the film’s story. Trainwreck is a solid step in the right direction for Apatow and a coming out party for Schumer and Hader. I’m looking forward to what everyone involved has in store for the future.

Replay Value: I will watch it again, for sure.
Sequel Potential: No spin offs for bit characters please.
Oscar Potential: I was impressed with Bill Hader but this isn’t the kind of movie that the academy will think about or remember.

Grade: 6.5/10 (Recommended/Must See)

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The Change-Up (2011)

December 19, 2011

Starring: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde, Leslie Mann
Director: David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers)

Quick Thoughts: The Change-Up is really just a rehash of things Freaky Friday, Trading Places, and, to some extent, Big have all already done more successfully. In the film, family man Jason Bateman and womanizing, weed smoking, and soft-core porn star Ryan Reynolds switch bodies after urinating in a magical fountain together and wishing they had the life of the other. After the film opened with Bateman’s character getting a mouthful of diarrhea while changing diapers, I was fully expecting to hate this movie, but wound up finding it moderately endearing and somewhat watchable. We’re not breaking new ground here and the level of comedy doesn’t make up for that, but the film isn’t the train wreck I was anticipating. The best aspect of the movie is being able to see Bateman play against type when his body is possessed by Reynolds’ foul-mouthed, free living persona. The film has some funny and charming moments, and while it’s nothing I’d really recommend, it’s not a total waste of time either.

Viewings: 1
Replay Value: Questionably worth one viewing.
Sequel Potential: Shouldn’t have any.
Nudity: Leslie Mann gets naked. Oliva Wilde does not. Bad beat.
Grade: 3.5/10 (Skip It/Netflix It)
RottenTomatoes Scores: Critics: 24% Audience: 52%
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10
Recommendation: A decent comedy that is a little better than expected, but probably still not worth your time.

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I Love You Man Is Hilarious

April 17, 2009

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Yeah, I said it. I Love You, Man is greatness, possibly a comedy classic in the making. Time and repeat viewings will say whether or not that is true, but this was by far the most fun I’ve had watching a movie this year. Thank God for Judd Apatow and his buddies ushering in the era of the R-rated comedy. In general, ever since 40 Year Old Virgin was released in 2005, the quality of comedies has drastically increased over the past half decade. Though I thought some of the movies from this genre (i.e. Pineapple Express, Zack & Miri Make A Porno) were a bit overrated last year, I Love You, Man is a very solid step back in the right direction.

The film centers on Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd), a real estate salesman planning to marry the woman of his dreams, Zooey (Rashida Jones). After overhearing Zooey’s friends making fun of his lack of a social circle, Peter decides: “I need some fucking friends.” After a series of hilarious “man dates” with various guys, Peter finally comes across Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) at an open house he’s hosting and instantly finds Sydney’s honesty and blunt nature endearing. They become quick friends and it doesn’t take long for this new friendship to cause problems between Peter and Zooey.

The cast in this is really terrific. Paul Rudd and Jason Segel have both become legitimate comedy stars. Both Rudd and Segel have grown from supporting characters in the first couple of Judd Apatow films to being stars in their own movies. Both actors are phenomenal in this movie and Rudd really hams it up as Peter Klaven, doing an excellent job of showing how awkward it can be to try to meet new people and vibe with them. The way he blurts out random non-words (“Joben”) and repeatedly stumbles over his sentences show a complete lack of confidence in his surroundings and makes for good laughs throughout the whole film. Years ago, I wouldn’t have ever thought that Paul Rudd could be a regular leading man in a comedy, but I’m convinced of it now. Segel is another rising star, whose Sydney is played with confidence and an air of experience that doesn’t quite reach snobbery. Whether predicting if someone needs to fart or explaining the lubricant and condoms on his desk (“this is where I masturbate”), Sydney’s honesty and tendency for bluntness comes across as genuine.

The supporting cast is solid and funny as well, with a number of B-list celebrities taking on roles. Jaime Pressly and Jon Favreau are hilarious playing a dysfunctional couple that are friends with Peter and Zooey. Andy Samberg is pretty good as Peter’s gay brother and J.K. Simmons is great no matter what he does. Rashida Jones is absolutely adorable as Zooey in her first major film role. The gorgeous actress is quite talented and after proving her comedy chops on The Office and in this film, I wouldn’t be surprised if stardom awaits her. Sarah Burns stars as Zooey’s desperate friend Hailey and does such a good job of channeling Kristen Wiig that I actually thought it was the SNL star.

I Love You, Man is easily the most fun I’ve had at the movies this year. The actors were all great and funny and the pacing of the film was solid even through the inevitable conflict segments. I laughed throughout the whole film and really enjoyed all the performances. I can’t wait to see it again. It’s the first movie of 2009 that I’ve gone out of my way (*ahem* aside from writing on a blog, that is) to recommend to people. Go see it immediately!

Grade: 8 out of 10 (Must Own)