They’re pretty sure you already do, but Judd Apatow’s latest batch of fearless “bromantic” comedies want you to know that they’re kind of a big deal. If you’ve attended any institution of higher learning in the past three or four years, it only takes a brief minute to realize that the phrases and characteristics popularized, and sometimes invented, by the Apatow gang in films such as “Pineapple Express,” “Anchorman,” “Knocked Up” and “Superbad” spread faster than Ron Burgundy’s ego. Many have passed up the comedies of maven producer Apatow as merely “pot-centric” and juvenile, but as Hollywood’s interpretation of humor changes, the language of Apatow it is becoming an essential facet of pop culture.
While the content of Apatow’s flicks - ranging from pregnancy to prolonged pot-smoking sessions - is questionable in its mainstream appeal, his movies seem to be made for little money, yet always rake in the bucks come opening weekend.
My first Apatow-based visit to the cineplex was in 2004 for the Will Ferrell vehicle “Anchorman.” While, to the best of my memory, the testosterone greatly outweighed the estrogen present in that theater, “Anchorman’s” fan base has subsequently extended to include women with even a smidgen of a funny bone. The movie has forever squeezed its way into the oft-quoted annals of popular film history. On AU’s campus, it isn’t uncommon to see shirts bearing one of the more memorable lines, “I Love Lamp,” and at a recent ATV open house, the teleprompters in the newsroom jokingly read, “I’m Ron Burgundy?”
Critics have frequently praised Apatow’s R-rated ventures for their sheer audacity as well as their respect for ethical standards. While the air in “40-Year Old Virgin”, “Superbad” and “Knocked Up” was laced with pot smoke and the smell of beer, at heart, all three had the basic elements of any romantic comedy or “chick flick.” If a girl gives one of these films a chance and watches it with an open mind, she should be pleasantly surprised that the Apatow women are presented as responsible, strong and romantic characters.
Yet when I passively mentioned that I was going to the midnight opening of “Pineapple Express,” my announcement was met with raised eyebrows. This may have been warranted though; “Express” was a man-centric buddy comedy through and through, with enduring phrases such as “bromosexual” and “BFFF” (Best Fucking Friends Forever). Expect to see these two, as well as “Thug life!” emerge in future conversations with cinephiles. Using an Apatow phrase in almost any casual exchange will earn you instant “cool cred.”
Even when one pulls out or references a fake ID, any mention of “I am McLovin’” is now appropriate and even expected. When the American Film Institute compiled its list of the top 100 movie quotes of all time, they gave the highest honors to “Gone With the Wind’s” “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” While this line may be classic, I haven’t heard anyone slip it into a conversation in the past decade. If measured by popularity and reorganization, any boast of Ron Burgundy’s or the pot-marred outbursts of Seth Rogen’s would certainly rank near the top.
While “Pineapple Express” continues to pull in decent grosses at the box office, Apatow is already at work producing his next creation. His next film, “Year One,” is an action comedy slated for release next June with favorites Michael Cera and Jack Black in the starring roles. Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen are also beginning production on “Funny People,” which is slated to appear next July. While Black and Cera’s film tracks their adventures through a primitive world of vampire lore, and Sandler and Rogen’s (reportedly) the woes of a terminally ill comedian, it can be assured that they will come complete with a slew of lines and phrases sure to make McLovin’ give out a loud “Chicka chicka yeah!” as they take their own places in the language of modern pop culture.