Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Perils of the Well-Read Moviegoer

I saw Judd Apatow's new comedy KNOCKED UP on Tuesday, and despite having fast-forwarded through nearly every commercial for it and having seen only one theatrical trailer I still felt like I'd somehow already seen most of it.
oh, to be as delightful as Paul Rudd

The reason for this cinematic deja vu won't surprise anyone who reads the occasional magazine and/or newspaper: by the time the movie came out I'd read no fewer than TEN articles, reviews, and profiles of the film and its cast and crew. And I skipped a few that looked interesting too!

we are walking... we are smiling

Not enough apparently. I not only knew that several interchanges between characters in KNOCKED were derived from Apatow's real-life marriage to actress Leslie Mann (who stars in KNOCKED after stealing her scene in Apatow's THE 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN), but I could feel precisely which ones they were as they unspooled. Why? Because after reading features in Los Angeles Magazine, Newsweek, New York Times (2) and Los Angeles Times, I know more about Apatow and Mann's marriage than virtually all of my "real" friends'. The narrative and/or character impact of dozens of scene details were rendered powerless to me because my mind was too busy remembering that they were borne of heavy improv sessions and Apatow's stripmine-style explorations of the young cast's embarrassing pasts.

well, for actor/stoners anyway...

None of this is news, really, as studios with high hopes for their films will always get as much raw information about the film, cast and crew into the marketplace as possible to keep the hype machine humming until release. What I'm not used to is that the film (and filmmaker) being hyped is one I'm genuinely interested in.


Sam said...

It was funny when they did (not) do it doggy style. I cried when the baby was born. honest.

daniel said...

The vagina shot(s). Wow. I ducked.

But to your point, I feel very uncomfortable when people laugh at jokes that were all over every cut of every trailer/commercial. You knew they were coming; you've seen them 20 times before. It's ok to not laugh. The joke is flat now. Don't laugh out of some weird sense of obligation.

Mr. Word Player said...

Daniel, I share your puzzlement at the "you people are STILL laughing at this joke?" syndrome. lemme guess- it was either the "he's playing fetch with my kids" line or the "just because you're married doesn't mean he's gonna stop hitting on you" bit at the club, right?

I've come to like the movie a lot more in the days since I saw it, which I'm happy about. as I sat at watched it, though, I had difficulty detaching myself from what was going on onscren. instead of enjoying the Cirque du Soleil scene, I was thinking "this sounded a lot funnier in the New York Times," and because the movie was structured in a way that provided few (if any) narrative twists and turns or surprises, I left feeling like I had read the last few chapters of a book instead of experiencing the whole thing.