Ross Douthat Reviews ‘Funny People’

You may remember Judd Apatow as the producer of “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year Old Virgin.” Yesterday, Ross Douthat reviewed the new Apatow movie “Funny People” for The New York Times. Douthat’s worldview analysis is spot-on. He writes:

‘We’re conservative right up until the moment that it costs us.

‘Both “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” were designed to hit this worldview’s sweet spot. There were threads of darkness in both stories, but for the most part they made their moralism look appealing by making it look relatively easy.

‘Still a virgin in middle age? Not to worry — you’ll find a caring, foxy woman who’s been waiting her whole life for an awkward, idealistic guy like you. Pregnant from a drunken one-night stand? Good news — the oaf who knocked you up will turn out to be a decent guy, and you’ll be able to keep the baby and your career as a rising entertainment-news anchorwoman. Frittering away your life on porn and pot? Fear not — your wasted twenties won’t stop you from being a great dad.

‘With “Funny People,” though, Apatow is offering a more realistic morality play. This time, doing the right thing has significant costs — but you have to do it anyway. This time, doing the wrong things for too long has significant consequences — and you have to live with them. It’s the first Apatow film in which love doesn’t conquer all. And it’s the first Apatow film in which you get punished for your sins.

‘In that sense, “Funny People” is the most conservative of all his movies. That’s probably what American audiences don’t like about it. But it’s what makes this film his best work yet.’

I’ve not seen any of these movies, so please don’t consider this post an endorsement of them. I just think Douthat is on to something here, and it would be worth your time to read the rest of his essay.

(HT: Russell Moore)

One Response to Ross Douthat Reviews ‘Funny People’

  1. Matthew August 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    I’ve see all 3 movies actually. I think he’s dead on. Funny People was by far the most “real” of the 3 movies, even though it’s still difficult to watch because of the language and shear raunchiness of the movie. There were actually moments, though, where you could feel the uneasiness of the characters as certain moral decisions were made. Much more depth from that perspective, and more real in the consequences experienced.

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