Saturday, June 16, 2007

Snip Snip Apatow


So I saw Knocked Up last night. Funny movie. Not as funny as I thought it would be, but it was still funny. Not as solid a movie as I thought it would be, but definitely the bright spot of this summer thus far.

This marks Judd Apatow's second movie as director. This is a time when he should be learning from past mistakes and improving on them. But in the case of running time, I ain't seeing it. The 40 Year Old Virgin came in at 116 minutes (the unrated version at 133 minutes). Lop about 15 to 20 minutes off that sucker and you've got yourself a very tight and even funnier movie. Maybe somebody said that to him, maybe not. I'm guessing not, because he went out and did it again. Knocked Up rolled in at 129 minutes. Again, you cut 20 minutes off that mother and we're talking great stuff here. Because here's the problem. We're creeping into epic movie time here. The kind of time that's reserved for War movies and Francis Ford Coppola movies. This is supposed to be funny pregnancy time, not Godfather time. And so then I wonder about Apatow. He seems like an approachable, self-effacing kind of guy. And it's not like he's new to this writing stuff. I'm sure he's had his writing edited before. Good Lord, he used to write for TV, the guy knows about edits. So what's with the self-indulgent running times?

Please Judd, as the future king of comedy, please, please, please heed these words: You're funny, but you need to spend a little more time in the editing bay. Because comedy spread over 90 minutes is a wonderful experience. Spread over two hours and ten minutes, less so.

7 comments:

Moviezzz said...

One of my biggest complaints about films is they are often too long, have unnecessary moments. I've mentally written a post about why many times, and will get around to posting it soon.

But, with Apatow's films, I have to say, I never felt they were overlong. If anything, I wanted more.

I didn't feel the running time the way I did at PIRATES or SPIDER MAN or even at 100 minute movies.

Piper said...

I definitely felt that way with the 40 Year Old extended edition DVD.

And it's not like I was looking at my watch, yawning, it just felt like there were some unnecessary scenes. Or scenes that went on a bit too long.

And I agree with you, I was falling asleep at the end of Pirates and was looking at my watch during Spider Man.

Comedy is timing and if you don't keep the pace, it effects the whole movie.

* (asterisk) said...

It's weird: only last year I commented on my blog that American films seemed to be getting shorter, on the whole, but there are some people out there that just go for that 2hr+ running time and it just kills their wafer-thin story stone dead. I'll gladly sit 2hrs, 3hrs, 4hrs for something involving, complex, intelligent, but a shitty little "indie" comedy? Come on, it's gotta be short and sweet, right?

pacheco said...

I've felt that Apatow's films have both suffered from lag (though I still like them), but I kind of like the idea of the long comedy.

If it's done correctly, why not? Why discriminate? Now, I think we have yet to master the lengthy comedy, but I'd like to see it done, if it could be done.

Piper said...

asterisk,

I kind of feel like everything is getting longer. You're right about killing a wafer thin plot. Which leads me to my other comment to

Pacheco,

The problem with a 2 hour plus comedy is that straight comedy just can't survive that long and still be funny. A movie with comedy elements can pull it off, but the problem with comedy is that it usually does have a pretty thin plot, or at least a very simple one. Having a complex story-line kind of goes against a comedic story.

brian said...

too long, true enough.

The Vegas scene was an easy one to cut.

But damn this is funny.

Best writing since, well, 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Move over Woody. Move over Albert.

Piper said...

Move over Albert?

Man, that's bold stuff.

I agree with you on some of the Vegas stuff. The whole shrooms scene didn't do much for me, but the chairs in the room was pretty damn funny and Paul Rudd's confession to Rogan was surprisingly touching.