Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 07/10/2009

finally a feminist Judd Apatow

I always feel guilty when I watch Judd Apatow movies. It is true that they can be ridiculously funny. Knocked Up kept me laughing the entire time, even if the birth scene scarred me for life and inspired me to go on an anti-reproducing rampage (I wish I were kidding.) The thing is…they’re pretty sexist. I say that like it’s an original idea — no, no I’m pretty sure everybody has noticed.


the most developed character in the pregnancy movie...

the most developed character in the pregnancy movie...

In Knocked Up, the most developed character is Debbie, the sister of Katherine Heigl’s character. And by developed I mean stereotypical nagger who is manipulative, evil and one main goal in life is to oppress her husband and make him miserable. Interesting sidenote: Apatow cast his own wife, Leslie Mann, in this role. As for Katherine Heigl’s character we don’t actually learn anything about her. She’s basically Seth Rogen’s idealized goddess, a prize for wanting to improve himself.

Amazing how Apatow not only made a movie about pregnancy that forgets about the mother, seems to only see women in such extremes and without true thoughts or feelings. Some call this comedy…many others, including me, call it sexism. 

BUT NO LONGER. This is not a rant about Apatow, this is an emphatic welcome to Lynn Shelton, the writer (yes!), producer (yes! yes!) and director (woooohoooo!) of Humpday – a film Apatow wishes he had made about two heterosexual male friends who decide to make a porno. Together. Two straight guys doing it. Because, as the characters say, “It’s not gay; it’s beyond gay. It’s not porn; it’s art.” 

What ensues is a brilliant look at the macho male and masculinity standards — a closer look at what the bromance is really all about, while still managing Apatow quality hilarity.

I know I’m raving about this movie and I haven’t even seen it. But I trust the New York Times and the WSJ/NPR/The Observer.

The move is out on limited release today in NYC, Seattle and LA.

Here be the trailer so you can see for yourself:


*Just a clarification. I am NOT endorsing pornography. I am endorsing a movie that was directed, written and produced by a woman who uses the concept of pornography as a way to challenge masculinity standards. This movie is NOT pornography. I also recognize that I have not seen this movie, but I support the fact that exists. 

I apologize if that wasn’t clear…

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  • Christina @ at 3:52 am, July 14th, 2009

    “One good deed cannot redeem oneself from a lifetime of wickedness,” Pirates of the caribbean.

    Still gonna watch it even though I hate Apatow and his sleazy movies that hardly made me laugh.

  • Cri @ at 11:40 am, July 14th, 2009

    Remember, this is NOT an Apatow movie, he had nothing to do with the production. Hence the lack of Seth Rogan. It draws obvious comparisons, but nerdy hipster male leads does not an Apatow make. I like some of those Apatow factory films (Most of all Pineapple Express, for its indie director David Gordon Green and James Franco- tee hee hee!) I would rather watch a film about losers with guys who actually look like losers acting like idiots than a film about jerky frat boys ogling women. I think I may check the Hump Day out!

  • Traci @ at 8:42 pm, July 14th, 2009

    To be fair, Knocked Up is the male POV in an unplanned pregnancy scenario. It’s not a great film (I own the DVD but only cause Jay Baruchel is a stone cold fox)but I’m not all that offended that Katherine Heigl isn’t the primary focus.

    If you haven’t, you might want to check out Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. Apatow works better in a TV format. And the lead on F&G is female!

  • Aaron Martin-Colby @ at 12:31 am, July 15th, 2009

    I disagree with your analysis of Knocked Up.

    I didn’t find the movie sexist. If anything, I found the only character in the movie who’s at all level-headed is Katherine Heigl’s character, Alison. I also found Alison to be the best-developed character. Rogen’s character, Ben, was pretty simple: the doofus who learns that a care-free life is actually very limited.

    Yes, the guy character was a lovable goof, but I also felt he was strongly portrayed as a lazy loser. Like real, hardcore, raging loser. Ben’s friends are barely functional human beings. The first encounter between Alison and Ben was embarrassing, but not because she was stuck up. It was embarrassing because the audience was experiencing the encounter through the avatar of Alison. I would be pretty shocked and uncomfortable if I had just slept with this pile.

    Alison’s sister is a conniving bitch, but her husband, Paul Rudd’s character, is a self-centered dick. Still, her one goal in life wasn’t to make Paul Rudd miserable, and I felt that the scene after the fantasy baseball party, where she just wanted to be with him, illustrated that. She simply wants a relationship, and her husband won’t let that happen.

    I don’t think Ben receives Alison as a “prize” for bettering himself. He betters himself because he’s a loser, and the better life itself is the prize. His better job, his own apartment, and a real, give-and-take relationship.

  • Sarah @ at 12:50 am, July 17th, 2009

    Oh, Freaks and Geeks! I wish they made more shows like that…but I don’t think it was necessarily Apatow that made it funny…I think it had more to do with Paul Feig (creator of the show). You should read his book called “Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence.” Hi-larious!

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