From Ross Douthat's column today:
Don’t laugh. No contemporary figure has done more than Apatow, the 41-year-old auteur of gross-out comedies, to rebrand social conservatism for a younger generation that associates it primarily with priggishness and puritanism. No recent movie has made the case for abortion look as self-evidently awful as “Knocked Up,” Apatow’s 2007 keep-the-baby farce. No movie has made saving — and saving, and saving — your virginity seem as enviable as “The 40-Year Old Virgin,” whose closing segue into connubial bliss played like an infomercial for True Love Waits.
Don't laugh. DON'T LAUGH? How do I not LAUGH at the notion that there's anything enviable about Steve Carrell's character in The 40-Year Old Virgin? Is Douthat saying that social conservatives really think the best way to get through life is to stay trapped with the emotional maturity level of a teenager until further notice? Well, going by the behavior of the Christian Right and arch-conservatives, I wouldn't doubt it. Just watch a video of any of these crashed town-hall meetings. Some folks need to get laid.
As for the notion that Knocked Up (the most incoherent movie Apatow has made) is political in any way, I have a fulmination, based solely on a common misconception pro-lifer's have about anyone who supports abortion rights. Why does the right assume that those of us on this side (for reasons ranging from privacy to women's rights) are all so gung ho about the act of abortion itself? What kind of movie does Ross, et al think Knocked Up would've been if its principals decided to have an abortion instead? It would've had a different title and running time, and would've been based on an Ernest Hemingway short story.
After having seen Funny People this weekend, I can assure you, Apatow's concern is an apolitical one. He improvises his way through plots that render themselves irrelevant by their basic absurdity. He's actually a master at improvisation, which paradoxically forces domestic situations on to wonderful free-form comedy. The first hour and twenty of Funny People is a work of wild, sensitive genius. As for it being conservative on any subconscious level, well, it contains the line (SPOILER): "I want you to wear glasses above your asshole so when I'm fucking you in the ass it looks like you're blowing me."