While his own films have yet to cross over the awards threshold, Oscar nominations for last year’s “Bridesmaids” in the Original Screenplay and Supporting Actress categories signify a new respectability for the comedies of Judd Apatow, the man who more than any other is responsible for the rebirth of the genre in the last few years. Films like “Anchorman,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up” and “Superbad” have brought in the big bucks over the last few years, but now they seem to be getting legitimate respect from cinephiles, something that only seems to be continuing with the writer-director-producer’s next film.
“The Five-Year Engagement,” produced by Apatow, written by Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “The Muppets“), directed by Stoller and starring Segel and Emily Blunt, has been picked to open the eleventh instalmment of Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Film Festival on April 18th. It’s not the first festival appearance for an Apatow-branded comedy (“Bridesmaids” premiered at SXSW last year, for example), but perhaps the highest profile to date. Stoller told Reuters that, “When Jason and I met during the production of ‘Undeclared,’ we couldn’t have imagined that one day we would write a comedy that would open such a prestigious film festival as Tribeca. We are so honored that the festival organizers have given us this platform to premiere the film. To be honest, this is all just a ploy to stand on top of a building with Robert De Niro and look out over New York City at dusk.”
The film, which also stars Alison Brie, Chris Pratt, Jacki Weaver, Rhys Ifans, Mimi Kennedy, David Paymer, Jim Piddock, Mindy Kaling and Kevin Hart, was already looking especially promising, and looks to continue the success of the Apatow factory after the blip of “Wanderlust.” That being said, recent Tribeca openings have included “Baby Mama,” “Whatever Works” and “Shrek Forever After,” so it’s not exactly a solid gold stamp of quality, either. “The Five-Year Engagement” will bow at Tribeca on April 18th, before opening everywhere else on April 27th. [ScreenDaily]