Stephanie Zacharek talks about how, even though he gets it right in this movie, Steve Carell doesn't normally do "heartwarming" well. I suspect, by the way, that has A LOT to do with our expectations of him; you don't think heartwarming when you think of a comedian who made a name for himself debating Stephen Colbert on Daily Show and as the voice of Gary in "The Ambiguously Gay Duo". Says Zacharek: "When Judd Apatow was making "The 40 Year Old Virgin," a Universal executive, after watching some of the dailies, remarked that Carell looked like a serial killer..."
I got a kick out of that bit.
She also lays into Dane Cook several times in the article. She says early on: "...Dane Cook appears in a fearsomely large supporting role. In other words, there are plenty of things not to like about [the movie]." This just before calling him a "frighteningly uncharismatic faux-comedian." Sounds pretty harsh, but I gotta say I can't argue with her. I've never understood Cook's routine or his following. There have been several moments where I'm watching him on TV and I'm thinking to myself that the joke he told seems like it should be funny, but I'm not laughing. I'm nowhere remotely near laughing. I also inevitably feel the same emotions when I watch him: empathetic embarrassment occasionally mixed with mild annoyance. Yet I know at least one person who's obsessed with Dane Cook and thinks he's the greatest comedian around, and clearly there must be more or he would never have made it off the intarwebz. Maybe Stephanie and I (and almost everyone I know) aren't getting something, because I think he may be the single most unfunny comic I've ever seen.
And I've been to a comedy club.
This can't be blamed on the guy, but here is a snippet from Dane Cook's bio on Yahoo! Movies:
But this “hottest comic no one has heard of,” ended up cold-cocking the comedy world with his rock ‘n’ roll persona and hilarious observational bits on everyday life and pop cultural touchstones.
Mmmm, that's some tasty cliche! Did anyone else roll their eyes so hard they hurt themselves?