Hearty laughs

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AS the star of The 40-Year-Old Vir­gin (2005), Steve Carell helped kick off the bro­mance fad. Since then, how­ever, he has mostly avoided the genre in favour of more tra­di­tional come­dies.

Lit­tle Miss Sun­shine (2006): A black com­edy with Carell in a more dra­matic role – a gay lit­er­a­ture pro­fes­sor who re­cently at­tempted sui­cide.

Evan Almighty (2007): Carell’s char­ac­ter from Bruce Almighty got his own movie, and Carell got one of his few flops.

Dan In Real Life (2007): An­other semidra­matic role, this time as a wid­ower who re­dis­cov­ers love with Juli­ette Binoche.

Get Smart (2008): Though poorly re­viewed, this ac­tion com­edy based on the clas­sic TV spy spoof still grossed US$130mil (RM416mil), ac­cord­ing to Box­Of­fice­Mojo.

Date Night (2010): Carell and Tina Fey played a mar­ried cou­ple mis­taken for crim­i­nals. The two stars didn’t make the knock­out team that many view­ers ex­pected, but the film pulled in a healthy US$98 (RM314mil).

Bro­mance movies

Here’s a look at bro­mance movies – in their widely var­ied forms – over the decades:

The De­fi­ant Ones (1958): Of­ten cited as the first bro­mance, this drama stars Tony Cur­tis and Sid­ney Poitier as es­caped con­victs who loathe each other but are lit­er­ally chained to­gether. Their friend­ship even­tu­ally grows so strong that they can’t bear to part.

The Odd Cou­ple (1968): This Neil Simon com­edy doesn’t fea­ture a “meet-cute”, but it’s one of the de­fin­i­tive male-bond­ing films. Two di­vorced friends, the slovenly Os­car (Wa­ter Matthau) and the com­pul­sively neat Felix (Jack Lem­mon) move in to­gether and quickly be­come as adorably dys­func­tional as any mar­ried cou­ple.

Lethal Weapon (1987): One of the great buddy-films, with Mel Gib­son and Danny Glover as LAPD de­tec­tives with op­pos­ing per­son­al­i­ties. Their spousal re­la­tion­ship is clear (es­pe­cially in the se­quels) with Gib­son as the reck­less hus­band and Glover as the fret­ting wife.

The Shaw­shank Re­demp­tion (1994): An­other mixed-race “mar­riage,” with Tim Rob­bins as a wrongly con­victed pris­oner and Mor­gan Free­man as the lifer who be­friends him. Hardly a woman in the cast, and it’s the two men who end up to­gether on a trop­i­cal beach.

The 40-Year-Old Vir­gin (2005): The film that put Judd Apa­tow on the map is os­ten­si­bly a ro­mance be­tween a sex­ual novice (Steve Carell) and a warm-hearted ec­cen­tric (Cather­ine Keener). What res­onated with au­di­ences, how­ever, was the bond­ing be­tween the men (played by Seth Ro­gen, Paul Rudd and oth­ers), who com­fort and sup­port each other in their af­fec­tion­ately in­sult­ing way.

Su­per­bad (2007): Like most teen flicks, this one was about boys try­ing to get lucky with girls. But the stars, Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, made bro­mance his­tory with their fa­mous spoon­ing scene: “I just want to go to the rooftops and scream, ‘I love my best friend, Evan!”

The Bucket List (2007): Mor­gan Free­man (again) and Jack Ni­chol­son play ter­mi­nally ill men who help each other ful­fill their life goals. The bro­mance for­mula is fol­lowed to the let­ter – the meet, the split, the ten­der re­union – and the ex­otic scenery (France, Africa) is al­most as ro­man­tic as the 2gether-4ever end­ing.

Role Mod­els (2008): Rudd and Seann Wil­liam Scott play two screw-ups forced to do com­mu­nity ser­vice work with mis­fit kids. This was partly a lousy-par­ent com­edy like Bad Santa or The Bad News Bears, but the film also fo­cused on the two dudes’ break-up and in­evitable make-up.

Funny Peo­ple (2009): Judd Apa­tow’s first flop cast Adam San­dler as a suc­cess­ful but de­pressed co­me­dian and Seth Ro­gen as a young joke-writer. Aside from that bro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship, there were two more – one in­volv­ing Jonah Hill, an­other with Ja­son Schwartz­man – which may have over­loaded au­di­ences.

I Love You, Man (2009): The most bla­tant ex­am­ple of the bro­mance again fea­tures Rudd, this time as a guy who lacks a best man for his wed­ding; Ja­son Segel plays the over­grown ado­les­cent who might fit the bill. As you might guess, the cli­mac­tic wed­ding scene has al­most noth­ing to do with the bride. – News­day/McClatchy-Tribune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

The40-Year-OldVir­gin gets a good wax­ing.

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