The surprising Apatow in six films to see in Salto

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Politically incorrect comedy guru Judd Apatow has for more than twenty years painted an unadorned portrait of an America that sometimes has trouble growing up. Salto offers six films directed and/or produced by the author of “40 years old, still a virgin”.

His films have been secretly released in France for a long time. It must be said that with the exception of the first of him, 40 years old, still a virgin (2005), they never actually made any money. Barely 35,000 entries for his most recent, but notable The King of Staten Island (2020). Is there a French misunderstanding about Judd Apatow? He has often been criticized for his gritty, American-focused humor, wrongly associating him with pochades like american foot. However, the Apatow touch is much more than that.

Like the Farrelly brothers (Dumb and Dumber, Maria at all costs), digs the groove of politically incorrect comedy, denouncing the puritanism of the United States while developing a form of crude realism on banal topics that concern us all: the couple, sexuality, personal fulfillment, the fear of death… Behind the the daring gags, often below the belt, hides a passionate and personal reflection on the difficulty of growing up, often among men (although crazy amy, in 2015, it was the female counterpoint) who take pleasure in the illusion of eternal adolescence, even if it means suffering it.

Sometimes too long, and punctuated by somewhat moralistic endings, his films (as well as his many scripts and productions) nonetheless form a coherent work, with a cast of faithful actors, to be (re)discovered. Waiting for his next feature film, The bubble, on Netflix the 1is April, here are six films (four productions and two productions) available on the Salto platform.

what “40 years old, still a virgin” (2005)

“40 years old, still a virgin”, with Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Steve Carell and Miki Mia.

universal images

It’s all in the title. For his first film, Apatow casts the brilliant Steve Carell as a shy appliance salesman who hasn’t yet tasted the pleasures of the flesh. The actor gives of himself (see scene of painful hair removal… not simulated). The hilarious and inflated film brilliantly deals with the fear of sex and the idiocy of male social injunctions.

what Pregnant, Instructions for Use (2007)

Pregnant, User's Guide, with Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen.

Pregnant, User’s Guide, with Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen.

universal images

Still just as rubbish, Apatow’s second film is nonetheless a romantic comedy based on the classic scheme of opposites attracting. After an unlikely one night stand, a working girl ambitious woman becomes pregnant with a nerd idle, fan of joints and porn. The humor is not cold and exposes the naked truth of commitment in the couple, this dream possibility of an ideal happy middle ground.

r “40 Years, Instructions” (2012)

“40 Years, A User’s Guide”, with Iris Apatow, Maude Apatow, Paul Rudd, and Leslie Mann.

Universal Pictures – Apatow Productions – Forty Productions

The director is inspired by his partner (he even gives up one of the main roles to his wife, Leslie Mann) to make a film about midlife crisis. The torments of everyday life, the unbearable children, the forgotten intimacy, the personal and professional questions, everything rings true in this comedy that tends once again towards an ideal, that of joyous maturity. Double Apatow, Paul Rudd is irresistible. Note in passing the trick of the French distributor: translate this is forty mixing the titles of the first two successes of the director, after the failure of funny people. The continuation, this is fifty therefore, it is expected in 2023.

what Crazy Amy (2015)

“Crazy Amy” with Amy Schumer and Bill Hader.

“Crazy Amy” with Amy Schumer and Bill Hader.

Universal Pictures – Apatow Productions

Apatow provides a wonderful setting for comedic tornado Amy Schumer, who also wrote the film. With no time for feelings, his character strings up lovers like daisies, often on the same night. His phenomenal slaughter barely masks her fear of commitment and his emotional wounds. Until she slowly falls “Madly in Love”, to his great surprise, of a modest, likeable and (oh, unfortunately!) normal type. We can regret the ending, “normal” too. We can also envy him.

r “Without Sarah, nothing is worth!” (2008)

“Without Sarah, nothing goes!  with Kristen Bell, Jason Segel, Jonah Hill and Russell Brand.

“Without Sarah, nothing goes! with Kristen Bell, Jason Segel, Jonah Hill and Russell Brand.

Apatow Productions

Directed by Nicholas Stoller, written and performed by Jason Segel (How I met your mother), This hit comedy about an abandoned (in every sense of the word) man gone to drown his sorrows in Hawaii, where he comes face to face with his ex and her new boyfriend, is branded by Apatow, producer here. Beneath the beach, a cobblestone pool of beta virilism, and a poignant portrait of a sentimental nude man, both literally (in several scenes) and figuratively.

what My best friends (2011)

“My Best Friends” with Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kristen Wiig, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne and Maya Rudolph.

Universal Pictures – Relativity Media – Apatow Productions

Sometimes unfairly accused of not caring enough about his female characters, Apatow produced and wrote the screenplay, signed by Kristen Wiig (also lead performer), for this cult all-female ensemble comedy. The funniest women in the world (including Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph) master the art of bad taste with class, in front of Paul Feig’s camera. Bodily fluids of all kinds irrigate a reflection on sorority undermined by society’s inquisitive gaze on the fair sex.

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