I recently read a review for this year’s best picture Oscar winner No Country for Old Men, in which the reviewer lamented the dearth of female film critics. She thought the film appealed to a male audience and wouldn’t have done as well critically if there were more female reviewers out there. Now, I actually liked No Country for Old Men. I didn’t love it, and it was on the gruesome side, but it was also well made and suspenseful. My biggest quibble was that I had a hard time understanding the thick southern accents. However, I do agree with her that we could use a few more female reviewers out there, and I notice this most when I read reviews for raunchy male-oriented comedies, like the onslaught of Judd Apatow comedies we’ve seen in the last few years.
I liked The 40-Year Old Virgin, which I thought was mildly funny and mostly sweet and, of course, it starred Steve Carell who can really do no wrong in my eyes. So I was really excited about when I heard about Knocked Up and Superbad, also films with some sort of involvement from Apatow. I was very disappointed. While I tolerated Knocked Up because there was a bit of an interesting story there, I didn’t find it funny at all. And I truly hated Superbad, which was maybe one of the unfunniest films I have ever seen. It seems to me that humor should appeal to 4th through 8th grade boys and that’s about it. Certainly not adult-sized critics. But oh how they loved it. They told me there was a way to do raunchy bad and a way to do raunchy funny, and this was raunchy funny. I beg to differ.
So I’m going to skip new release Forgetting Sarah Marshall altogether. I’m hearing how funny it is from all the critics, and it’s getting a solid 85% on RottenTomatoes. But if the funniest thing they can come up with on the previews is the visual blow job joke, followed by the actor grinning sheepishly like “Oh what a cute little boy I am” then I know it’s not going to be funny.
It all leads me to wonder how the soon to be released Tina Fey-Amy Poehler movie Baby Mama will fare critically. I’m looking forward to seeing this movie and the trailer has me in tears. Even – maybe even especially – the part where Poehler can’t get the baby-proofing off the toilet seat and is caught squatting in the sink. Raunchy for sure, but raunchy funny. I’m a big Tina Fey fan, and I like 30 Rock though I think it’s hit or miss. And Amy Poehler is always funny on Saturday Night Live. (They were my favorite Weekend Update co-anchors.) But will this type of comedy, which I heard Fey describe as very female-oriented, will be a hit with the male-dominated critic pool? It remains to be seen. It also remains for me to see the picture, which I’ll be doing no matter what any critics say.