one for the guys
Steve Carell and Paul Rudd try to rekindle the bromance genre.
TRUE romance will never die. But bromance? Well, that’s a different story. One of the most popular movie genres of the past decade, the bromance – that is, a love story between resolutely heterosexual men – seems to be fizzling.
Recent examples like Get Him To The Greek and Funny People underperformed at the box office, and the stars who once defined the genre are seeking out other roles (Seth Rogen as a superhero?).
This summer’s movie schedule has been leaning on tween-oriented fantasies like Twilight and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, with seemingly fewer dude-meets-dude comedies.
Where does that leave Dinner For Schmucks, due in Malaysian cinemas this Thursday? The film stars two bromance veterans, Steve Carell ( The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Paul Rudd ( I Love You, Man).
Rudd plays a corporate climber whose cruel-humoured boss hosts a dinner party where the goal is to invite the biggest cretin; Carell plays the potential winner, a social misfit whose hobby is dressing dead mice in elaborate costumes.
Based on a 1998 French comedy, Dinner For Schmucks may be properly classified as an annoying-friend movie, much like 1987’s Planes, Trains And Automobiles, which starred Steve Martin as the uptight career man and
John Candy as the overtalkative bumbler.
But Dinner For Schmucks also adheres to the modern bromance formula: The men meet, grow close, break up and – spoiler alert! – fall back into each other’s arms.
That formula may have reached its peak in 2007, when Superbad, spearheaded by Judd Apatow – the writer-director-producer who practically invented the bromance – grossed US$121mil (RM387mil), according to BoxOfficeMojo.
More recent entries haven’t performed as well. Apatow’s Funny People was one of last year’s biggest disappointments, grossing only US$51mil (RM163mil).
And while Forgetting Sarah Marshall grossed US$63mil (RM202mil) in 2008, its spinoff, this year’s Get Him To The Greek, eked out just US$58mil (RM179mil).
What’s more, the stars of these movies seem increasingly keen to leave them behind. Rogen, the quintessential bromantic leading man, has slimmed down to play a superhero in the coming The Green Hornet.
Jonah Hill, of Superbad, is currently starring
as an insecure mama’s boy in the comedydrama Cyrus. And Michael Cera, Hill’s cuddle
mate in Superbad, has been gravitating toward teen love stories – with actual girls –
like Youth In Revolt and the action-comedy Scott Pilgrim Vs The World.
There are a few bromance-style films due for release this year, but they seem like throwbacks to older, more familiar formulas.
The Other Guys (opening in Malaysia on Oct 14), casts Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as mismatched cops.
And there is Due Date, a road-trip comedy with Robert Downey Jr as an expectant father travelling with a disaster-prone wacko (Zach Galifianakis, also in Dinner For Schmucks).
Does this mean we’re seeing the return of the old-fashioned buddy-film, with less overt emotion and more gruff shoulder-punching? If so, the bromance may be headed back into the closet. – Newsday/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Steve Carell (left) and Paul Rudd star in Dinner