[T]hese movies are often enjoyable. If you were to list your favorite comedies of the last five years, I bet at least three of either Apatow’s or Phillips’s films would make the list. Yet can you recall a single famous gag from any of these movies? What was the absolute most hilarious joke in “The Hangover”? (My informal straw poll suggests that it was Galifianakis’s mispronouncing “retard.”) Tellingly, the most quotable sequence from any Apatow movie is the “You know how I know you’re gay?” exchange between Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” which was improvised on the sidelines, then stuck into the film, and which, trust me, does not benefit from being reproduced for posterity in print. Surely there must be at least one indelible gag, line, or scene from just one of these films? If there is, I can’t identify it, and don’t call me Shirley.
Adam Sternbergh, on how Judd Apatow and Todd Phillips have inaugurated the reign of the jokeless comedy (via Heather):