Monday, September 05, 2011

Catching Up Part Deux

Moving on through the Netflix backlog.

The 40 Year Old Virgin. I think I've now seen somewhere between 4 and 6 movies that Judd Apatow had a hand in, either producing, directing, writing, or some combination of those three. I think he's yet to make a movie that will stand the test of time as a classic, but "The 40 Year Old Virgin" is probably my favorite of those I've seen so far. Mind you, I think it could have been a lot better, and probably funnier, by toning down some of the more outrageous components (e.g., Elizabeth Banks' character), and focusing more on the relationship between Andy (Steve Carell) and Trish (Catherine Keener). I won't deny that some of the raunchier stuff is really funny, but the end result was a movie with a bit of a split personality.

Due Date. Basically, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" updated for the 21st century, without the trains. Has its funny moments, but falls far short of the earlier film for one key reason - Robert Downey Jr.'s character. I love Downey Jr., but his character in "Due Date" is almost entirely unsympathetic - an asshole, really. And unlike Steve Martin in "Planes," there's no gradual warming over the course of the movie. Almost until the end, he treats the Zach Galifianakis character cruelly, and then all of a sudden in the last scene he's the cuddly teddy bear. Perhaps that makes for a more believable character, but it also made for a less enjoyable movie.

This Is Spinal Tap. Yes, it's true - I never saw this movie in its entirety until about two weeks ago. Shameful, I know. I'm not sure what I was thinking (or whether I was thinking at all), because of course it's brilliant - maintaining the joke all the way through the end, when the credits are rolling. I'm still not quite sure how they managed to pull it off.

One more to go, but that one gets its own post.

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