I am not conservative. But in my opinion, the marketplace for frat boy humor in the movies has become oversaturated. Yes, Old School is funny, as are Anchorman and Dodgeball. But Wedding Crashers is too long and much less entertaining, and the few laugh-out-loud moments were all on the trailer.


By the way, is there an unwritten rule that Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Owen and/or Luke Wilson must all cameo in each other’s films?


Will Vaughn’s supposed relationship with Jennifer Aniston affect his box office success? We’ll see when the aptly named The Breakup comes out later this year. To me, Vaughn is a better actor when he is given the opportunity to shine in scenery-stealing moments without his boy posse (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Be Cool). He is a pretty decent dramatic actor as well; early in his career, he had some quality performances in movies like Clay Pigeons and Return to Paradise. That being said, I found Vaughn to be distracting and seemingly out of place in last year’s Thumbsucker. Is he trying to reestablish the ‘indie cred’ that put him on the map when he starred in 1996’s Swingers?


Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers may have paid his bills for life, but when it comes to Ben Stiller, I recommend Keeping the Faith, an undervalued comedy co-starring and directed by an unusually funny Edward Norton. Stiller made six movies in 2004, one too many for the viewing public to ingest – Envy was the only film among the six that did not connect with audiences that year, resulting in one of Stiller’s few big screen financial failures (Duplex bombed badly in 2003).


I’m not sure what the appeal is with Owen Wilson. He alternates action movies with comedies and independent films, and has the most diversified canon of work among his frat boy counterparts. But that’s about all I can say for the guy. His brother Luke, on the other hand, has achieved more mainstream success with the Legally Blonde and Charlie’s Angels franchises, and he was great in both Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. 


And then there is Will Ferrell, probably the most popular kid in this clubhouse. He has tried his hand at a thinly veiled Woody Allen impersonation (Melinda and Melinda) and a man-child from the North Pole (Elf), but Ferrell may forever be known as Frank the Tank from Old School. He will probably stay golden with two of his next efforts: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, a NASCAR comedy helmed by Anchorman director Adam McKay, and Blades of Glory, an Olympic ice skating satire co-starring Will Arnett (Arrested

Development) that is currently in production.


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Meg Ryan’s monster success as the Queen of Feel-Good Date Movies is long gone. Outside of Julia Roberts, there are no clear successors to Ryan’s romantic comedy reign, but Kate Hudson (How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Raising Helen) is doing her best. Drew Barrymore is charming but inconsistent (Never Been Kissed, Fever Pitch). I love Diane Lane, but Must Love Dogs felt a tad stale (John Cusack was much better in Serendipity but should stick to films like High Fidelity). And from now on, it would be great if both Amanda Peet and Cameron Diaz would avoid this genre altogether. So when it comes to contemporary romantic comedies, I’ll stick with movies like Love Actually or Hitch.

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I try not to believe the pre-release buzz about movies, but there are some I can’t wait to see based on the trailers alone. Right now I’m looking forward to Thank You For Smoking, a satire starring Aaron Eckhart (Nurse Betty, Erin Brockovich) as a spokesman for Big Tobacco. It was adapted and helmed by first time director Jason Reitman (dad Ivan directed movies like Stripes, Ghost Busters and Dave, so the penchant for comedy is genetic), and this one looks like a winner. The film is based on Christopher Buckley’s novel of the same name and features an all-star cast, including Maria Bello, Adam Brody (The OC ), Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall, Rob Lowe and William H. Macy. You can follow Reitman’s journey as he promotes the film, and see for yourself his explanation about the infamous lost footage of Katie Holmes: http://thankyouforsmoking.typepad.com.


One of the most talked about movies from Sundance this year is the dark comedy Little Miss Sunshine, starring Steve Carrell, Greg Kinner and Toni Collette. There isn’t a trailer online yet, but it is slated to come out in July.

Out of sheer curiosity, I will see V For Vendetta when it finally comes out next month. Anything produced by the famously private Wachowski Brothers intrigues me, and, bald or not, I heart Natalie Portman ever since she stole my heart in Garden State.


I do have to admit that I will see Mission: Impossible III when it opens. Though not a huge fan of the couch-jumping superstar, I am drawn to this particular trilogy and admit to owning many of his movies (Jerry Maguire, The Last Samurai, Magnolia, Minority Report, The Outsiders and Top Gun). Besides, it was directed by television genius JJ Abrams, who brought three of my all-time favorite shows to life: Felicity, Alias and Lost. In addition, it will be great to see Keri Russell back in action (no matter the hair length) and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the villain. And of course, no JJ Abrams production would be complete without a Greg Grunberg appearance! Hopefully he won’t be eaten alive by a monster after two minutes onscreen in this one

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If you haven’t discovered them yet – run to your computer, open the iTunes Music Store and click on ‘Podcasts.’ They are free, entertaining and educational. I subscribe to the Grey’s Anatomy Official Podcast and The Official Lost Podcast, among many others, but there are thousands to choose from in almost every category imaginable: comedy, music, news & politics, sports, etc. I download the daily and weekly updates, news, chats and interviews, add them to my iPod and then listen in the car.  They’re great for frequent flyers and pop culture sponges alike.

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I have not been watching the Winter Olympics. They only serve as an interruption to original programming, and force me to spend entirely too much time immersed in Project Runway and  Real World/Road Rules Gauntlet II marathons. Besides, Bode Miller is the most over-hyped athlete in recent memory, and women’s ice skating will never be as exciting as it was when Tanya Harding had Nancy Kerrigan’s knee whacked by a thug.  


Does the network really think that moving guilty-pleasure hit Las Vegas to Friday nights is a good idea? Friday is where shows are sent to die (case in point: The Book of Daniel), unless they’re family-themed, and even Joan of Arcadia was canned after residing there for a few years. This is NBC’s not-so-subtle way of letting the disgustingly good looking cast of Las Vegas know that the show is too expensive to produce; thus, a time slot move ensuring loss of dedicated viewers. That being said, a little show called The X-Files started out on Friday nights…


In yesterday’s entry, I forgot to mention another memorable gem from Sunday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy – seeing Burke dance with Yang. Goofy. Brief. Classic.


If you’re not watching The Office, you should be. Above and beyond Steve Carrell’s comic genius in movies like Anchorman and Bruce Almighty, he is absolutely hysterical on this show. The supporting cast couldn’t be better, and the writing is superb. I was thrilled to see NBC actually make a good move and send the show to Thursday nights, where it couples perfectly with My Name is Earl. If Rainn Wilson ever creeped you out as Arthur on Six Feet Under, rest assured he is an entirely different character on The Office. Check out his hilarious Dwight Schrute Office blog: http://blogs.nbc.com/office.

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