Saturday, August 1, 2009

Throw a neg? #6: Funny People

look at the shorts
Judd Apatow sure does love his family. Every shot of Leslie Mann gleams, every shot of daughters Maude and/or Iris Apatow holds just too long. It's not like hiring Janusz Kaminski to light his pictures into "pretty" makes Apatow any better a filmmaker. But the problem isn't directing, per se, it's scope; which points to writing, which points to editing, which of course points to directing, too (we're after harmony after all, aren't we?). Endless coverage and endless post-production work shouldn't really be a problem, in theory, because you'd hope that editing was actually editing, or trimming--cutting off some fat. Hell, it's a recurring joke that Seth Rogen's gotten skinnier since the last time he was on screen. More, Apatow's trying to tell two too many stories at once, and each one is so moral. Granted, I felt good walking to the car; and, I suppose, self-reliance is a about as good a thing to preach as any. But, for every dick joke and for all the let's-get-serious talk, there's still a gauze on mess. It's a satisfied picture, no doubt, happy to know what it knows. It's Hollywood; it's fantasy. Solutions seem easy. After watching so much Hawks recently (a terrible and unfair comparison, I realize, but what are standards for?), I get that, for all his assurance of how the world works, Hawks is more about letting things play--or following a course as it leads. Despite the bloat of the running time, you can feel Syd Field all over Apatow's screenplays/outlines. Bottom line: gimme more movies about competition and more Aubrey Plaza telling our dummy boy-man Rogen she can fuck whoever she wants. --RWK