It can really mean something about a film’s quality based on the amount of note taking involved. During one’s scant 52 minutes (the so-called “documentary,” Taylor Swift: American Beauty), I may write down three pages of scathing hatred. Where as with this past weekend’s new release, Wanderlust, I jotted down exactly seven things. I guess that says a lot when one film is a glorified PowerPoint presentation and the other is from producer Judd Apatow and the crew behind comedic specialties like Role Models and TV’s The State.
An Apatow production used to mean big bucks at the box office after the onslaught of everything from his own 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up to Anchorman, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and, of course, last year’s brilliant Bridesmaids.
Another thing most of those films had in common was the use of the same cast members. While you wouldn’t say they consisted of a particular comedy troupe per se, it adds to the charm when you see all of the cast members you love having a ball every time together. The same can be said for the films of director David Wain. He too uses many of the same recurring actors, but they’re nowhere near as instantly recognizable as Apatow’s friends; save for star Paul Rudd, of course. It’s also a reunion of sorts for real-life friends Rudd and co-star Jennifer Aniston after having appeared together in The Object of My Affection and her long-running TV show Friends.
While Rudd was never a household name for much of his career, he’s been around since way back in 1995 when he showed up as Cher’s step-brother Josh in Clueless. Any time I rewatch it, it’s completely obvious that Rudd has always been the comedic genius he’s finally getting recognized for. After stealing scenes for years in most of Apatow’s collection, he’s finally maintaining his own star status after the successes of Wain’s own Role Models, I Love You, Man, Our Idiot Brother, and even Dinner for Schmucks to some degree. While he’s best known for showing up in all those Apatow movies, he’s also been in every single Wain film as well. Although Wet Hot American Summer and The Ten are nowhere near the laugh riots that Role Models and Wanderlust are, those still have their moments that remind us exactly why Wain has stuck around for so long and he just keeps getting better with age.