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Pick Your Apatow Day!
Suggestions for the whole family.
Welcome to Movie Star March Madness, our month-long watch-a-long and countdown to Season 2 of The Vince Vaughn-a-thon. Every day in March, we’re celebrating a different actor, movie star, or famous family - one of which will be our focus for Season 2. Play along with us and leave your daily reviews in the comments. For the full schedule and info, read here.
Leslie Mann: Blockers (2018)
When three parents discover their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom, they launch a covert one-night operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal.
Taylor: I saw Blockers in theatres after watching the surprisingly funny and intriguing trailer -- and by that I mean, I saw John Cena butt-chugging a beer and I was in.
This movie exceeds every expectation. What you think could be a run-of-the-mill parents-night-out comedy quickly becomes a charming, tender, hilarious look at what it's like not only to be a parent approaching an empty nest, but what it's like to grapple with a sudden lack of control with the world you once knew, making it a story that everyone can find a piece of humanity in.
The cast comprises some Hollywood veterans such as Cena and Leslie Mann, some new-kids-on-the-block like Geraldine Viswanathan and Gideon Aldon, and those that fall somewhere in between like Kathryn Newton and Ike Barinholtz. Even with experiences as diverse as this cast has, no one falls behind. Everyone plays off of each other brilliantly and (seemingly) effortlessly. The cast is so lovable, in fact, that on our most recent re-watch, we had to instantly devour all of our disc's special features because we didn't want to leave them!
Don't let the silly name or premise fool you - this movie packs a punch in the best way possible.
Maude Apatow: Little Shop of Horrors (Off-Broadway, 2023)
Little Shop follows meek plant store attendant Seymour, his co-worker crush Audrey, her sadistic dentist of a boyfriend and the man-eating plant that threatens them and the world as we know it. (Broadway.com)
Patrick: Playing Little Shop's Audrey is no easy task, as you're either stuck doing an impression of an impression of an impression of original Audrey Ellen Greene, or you're forced to go so far in the other direction that people don't recognize the character that they know and love.
Maude Apatow, who is playing the part through April 30 in the latest Off-Broadway revival, finds that difficult balance with the character. She's lovable, but quirky. She's silly, but honest. This production, directed by Michael Mayer, really leans into the over-the-top (with Matt Doyle and Bryce Pinkham Smith getting plenty of dead air to vamp or do a bit) and the biggest strength of Maude's performance is her ability to stay sincere amongst the goofy. She grounds her cast, something that, believe it or not, is still needed in something as diabolical and spectacular as Little Shop.
The Whole Family: This Is 40 (2012)
Pete and Debbie are both about to turn 40, their kids hate each other, both of their businesses are failing, they’re on the verge of losing their house, and their relationship is threatening to fall apart.
Taylor: I can't remember when I first saw This Is 40, but I was hooked from the get-go. The script is hysterical, with each joke and tender moment expertly played by a phenomenal cast. The film is led by the immensely talented and lovable Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd, which is about as charming as you could possibly get with a Hollywood duo. The film is kept very much in the family with Mann's real-life husband, Judd Apatow, behind the camera and her real-life daughters, Maude and Iris, joining her on-screen. Let's get one thing clear. When I say I hate nepo babies, I am NEVER talking about the Apatow family! I actually believe, in this scenario, that it makes for a really honest, lived-in story. There is no shortage of talent on set with the supporting cast including Melissa McCarthy, Jason Segel, Megan Fox, Chris O'Dowd, and many more.
This movie is technically a sequel to Knocked Up, but as someone who isn't a big fan of that movie, I truly believe that this movie not only stands on its own narratively, but in its integrity as well. It is rare that I find a movie where I believe every joke lands, every moment is effective, and every performance is perfectly captivating.
Credit: Each plot synopsis comes from Letterboxd via TMDb.
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