Wow — you could do worse for the pre-buildup to a summer flick than a giant, 8000-word cover story in the New York Times magazine (circulation 1.6 million, not including online). That's what "40 Year Old Virgin"/"Freaks & Geeks"/"Undeclared" wunderkind Judd Apatow got this weekend courtesy of writer Stephen Rodrick, who shadowed Apatow during the pre, post and pan-production process for his new movie "Knocked Up," in theaters everywhere on June 1st. It's pretty obvious that "Knocked Up" is going to be a massive hit — Apatow is hilarious, and he's hit on a winning formula in the Seth Rogen/Paul Rudd/Leslie Mann combo, plus his heaping helping of heart underneath the gross-out humor and sex jokes. In fact, that's what Rodrick picks up on, and then some:
Both of the films Apatow has directed offer up the kind of conservative morals the Family Research Council might embrace -- if the humor weren't so filthy. In "Virgin," the title character is saving himself for true love. "Knocked Up," which opens on June 1, revolves around a good-hearted doofus who copes with an unplanned pregnancy by getting a job and eliminating the bong hits. In each of the films, the hero is nearly led astray by buddies who tempt with things like boxes of porn, transvestite hookers and an ideology about the ladies possibly learned from scanning Maxim while scarfing down Pop-Tarts. By the end, Apatow exposes the friends as well meaning but comically pathetic and steers his men toward doing the right thing.
Or, put another way, Judd Apatow is a raging, raging conservative: The "40-Year Old Virgin" glorifies love-based sex and demeans sex-based sex; all those who are worthy turn away from it, and the arc of all the main characters is to eschew it. "Knocked Up" might as well be a pro-life ad: See, kids, you can embrace your unplanned pregnancy AND fall in love with your impromptu partner in procreation! Perhaps this is the happiest medium ever for the New York Times: Cater to Red America with 8,000 words glorifying such family values, while apppeasing its rabid Liberal base wit the hat-tip to penis, drug and hooker jokes. If only Adam Nagourney could appeal as evenly to all sides. Enjoy the above trailer for "Knocked Up" — while it seems to give away the entire plot, as trailers these days seem to do, at least with Apatow you can be assured that the rest of the movie's 129 minutes will be funny, too.
Disclosure: Steve Rodrick is a friend of ETP's. Judd Apatow is not. Seth Rogen is Canadian.