Judd Apatow is back in the directing chair after working as a producer on most of America’s comedy output: Anchorman, The Five Year Engagement, Wanderlust, Get Him To The Greek, Superbad– the list is impressive. However, while Apatow has shepherded a lot of quality comedy talent in those films, his own directing and writing efforts (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) have received mixed feedback. In This is 40, he casts his own wife and kids as a family reaching a crisis point as the couple turn 40, in a plot that seems to imitate his own life. Sticking a little too close to home here proves to be the film’s downfall as laughs are few and far between.
The director and star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall reunite for another offbeat romantic comedy designed to tug on your heartstrings, elbow your tearducts and rabbit-punch your laughter glands in equal measure. The Five-Year Engagement is perfectly watchable, but should rom-coms really be this bloody miserable?
Never quite sure whether it wants to champion the go-getters or those who just let fate sweep them along, Jeff, Who Lives At Home is nevertheless a perfectly amiable mumblecore comedy made watchable by the great chemistry between its leads Jason Segel and Ed Helms. Though it loses its head somewhat in the strangely action-packed final third, some good dialogue and gentle laughs make it just about worth a visit.