Today The Wrap henpecks at the troubled Universal, citing flagging box office returns and office infighting. But the most interesting tidbit is that the studio tried to cut 30 minutes off of Judd Apatow's two-and-a-half-hour Funny People, but failed. Why?
Um, probably because Judd Apatow is like the god of all comedy of all time. He's basically had a hand in every other major comedy hit in the past five years, people lurve his short-lived (don't they have to be short-lived to have even more mythic status?) TV series Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared, and his two writer-director efforts at the cinema, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, have been critical and box office darlings. So you will have a hard time saying no to that.
But might you have an even harder time saying no to him when the back six of his latest auteur effort, a mopey Adam Sandler flick about the comedy of the heart, features, front and center, his acidic cherub of a wife, Leslie Mann? The early reviews, while mostly positive, do seem to find nagging flaw in the long last third of his movie, which deals with Mann's character and her marital strife.
We have nothing to base this on except pure speculation, but could it be that Apatow's dive into the serious side of his actress wife prickled a bit with Universal execs? Not that they wouldn't love Mann! Everyone loves Mann! But they love her as the spritely, mean supporting lady, not as the star of her very own late-summer dramatic arc. Plus can't poor Universal please just have a regular bros-'n'-dick-jokes August comedy to rely on, not some itchy junior Importance film ("The third film from...") by comedy's reigning rabbi?
No, they can't. Because Judd said so. It's his wife's big moment! Now that he's a big deal, it's gonna be one for you, one for him, etc forever. Next one's yours, Universal. No worries.
We think? Er, it's always possible that Universal just wanted some of the funny stand-up parts cut, right?