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Judd Apatow: A brilliantly crude comic genius

When you think about important films or movies that receive massive praise from critics and fans alike, you probably picture the latest crime drama from Martin Scorcesse, or perhaps the next big artistic masterpiece from Tim Burton.

When you think about films that win countless awards and take home Oscars, your most likely thinking about Clint Eastwood’s extensive and immaculate track record as a director or powerhouse movies by the Cohen brothers. Although these directors and writers deserve the extol their receiving; fans, critics and the academy often forget or even ignore one of films most powerful and emotional genres. Comedy.

Let’s be honest here, when you think about well-made movies, comedies aren’t usually on the top of your list. Your brain often heads straight to something more melancholy, intense or serious. You never think about comedies. Now, I may be generalizing, but you have to admit that it’s true. I feel the same way and am just as guilty as anyone else. But there is a director out there that has not only made a name for himself but has arguably changed the entire face of the comedy genre. His name is Judd Apatow, and he is a comedic genius.

Apatow is famous for directing or producing a series of films that have captured the laughs of millions around the world. Movies like ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,’ ‘Superbad,’ ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ or ‘Pineapple Express’ are notorious for creating crude, rude yet heartfelt comedies that make the audience laugh, but more importantly, allow them to take something positive away. Some say it’s the perfect balance of emotion and comedy to keep people not only entertained but also genuinely interested in his movies. Not to mention the one-liners these movies produce spread like a plague through homes, schools and workplaces throughout the country. But Apatow’s real genius shines in the movies he’s actually directed, rather than produced. Films like ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’ and ‘Knocked Up’ allow people to see Apatow’s real talent as not only a director but as a writer.

In his directorial debut with ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin,’ he created a world in which vulgarity and crudeness found an open and almost welcomed place in the public eye. The story of ‘Virgin’ involved that of a 40-year-old man whom had never had sex. While working at his dead-end job as a sales clerk for an electronics superstore, his coworkers discover this and attempt to get him laid. The plot summary for this movie alone sounds weak and predictable and to a degree, you could even say that it is. But it’s when Apatow incorporates real life issues that it becomes interesting and genuine. It’s his light-hearted approach to these issues, which set his films apart from the rest of the bunch. Not to mention he keeps the same stellar cast for every movie (comedic masterminds like Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, etc’hellip;).

He succeeded even more and to a greater degree in his second film, ‘Knocked Up.’ This movie (in which Seth Rogan is absolutely brilliant) deals with a deadbeat guy and a successful girl, hooking up and getting, as the title implies, knocked up. In this installment of his directing, you could see his writing skills mature and his movie’s themes begin to grow. It’s hard enough to make a successful and lasting comedy, let alone increase in quality and meaning as time goes on. But Apatow has really begun to prove his worth as the new king of comedy and rightfully so. The real test, you might say, comes from the man’s endurance in the comedy genre. So far he’s knocked them out of the park and created quite a following, fan and critic alike. But the real test will come from his new film set to release this Friday called, ‘Funny People.’ This time around, Apatow tries to make the unfunny, funny. The topic? Life and death. Sounds impossible to pull off, doesn’t it? That’s because it is, well, for the most part. But if there’s anyone who could pull it off, it’s Judd.

‘Funny People’ is a story about one of the world’s most famous comedians, George Simmons (played by Adam Sandler). Simmons, who is a cynical man, is diagnosed with a disease that will ultimately kill him. With little time to live, he begins a journey on what he missed, took for granted and lost in life. During his revelations, he hires a man named Ira Wright (Seth Rogan) to act as his ‘friend’ and writer. Miraculously, his disease goes into remission and his is given a second chance at life. Simmons then reconnects with a lost love that he had betrayed earlier in his life and realizes that he still has strong feelings towards her.

It’s the kind of movie that walks a very, very thin line. Most of the time, films like this often fall too heavy on one side or the other, leaving the audience empty or wanting more. Life and death are very touchy subjects and are often something that we as people stray away from. But, like I keep preaching, if there’s anyone that can do it, it would be Judd Apatow. And with the cast he has assembled, it almost makes you want him and the film to be successful. But only time will tell if he can keep his trademark comedy in line with a big, heaping order of reality.”

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