There's a lot that can be said of director/producer Judd Apatow and writer Seth Rogen, but, more than anything else, they come across as two guys who really, really like comedies. And it's obvious from any of their collaborative efforts—The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad—that they've spent the majority of their adolescent and adult lives learning at the altar of every fratboy comedy since Animal House—everything from Ghostbusters and Stripes all the way through Anchorman.
Sure, their supporters champion them—rightly—for investing their movies with far more heart and storytelling prowess than is common for trashy mainstream comedies, and their detractors criticize them—also rightly—for their bawdy, sophomoric sense of humor. But more fundamental to their craft than either of those things is the simple fact that they've mastered the rules of silly, raunchy comedies to the point that they can borrow gags and stylistic devices from other movies and put them together in such a way that it seems fresh. So it's no surprise that, after a string of hits, the Apatow-Rogen team has assumed their own place within the pantheon of modern comedies; it seems like that was pretty much their plan all along.
And yet it's entirely possible that their latest film, Drillbit Taylor—produced by Apatow, co-written by Rogen, and directed by Steven Brill—could be their first fumble. Though it's certainly not a disaster, it is a move away from the style of comedy that has made them stars, and, as such, it finds them on shaky ground on more than one occasion. That's because this isn't another R-rated raunch-fest—it's a high-school comedy, aimed at a slightly younger audience and restricted ...1
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