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).
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.