I’ve been pretty curious to see what Judd Apatow will do to follow up his last film Funny People, which didn’t perform nearly as well as expected, and didn’t end up winning Adam Sandler an Oscar either. Over the last year his name has turned up as a producer on a number of projects including Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids, David Wain’s Wanderlust, and a new Pee-Wee Herman film, but we haven’t heard anything about his next directorial gig. Now this week Universal Pictures has announced that his next movie will be an as-of-yet untitled comedy starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. The surprising thing is that it appears to be a spin-off from his 2007 film Knocked Up, with Rudd and Mann reprising their roles as married couple Pete and Debbie.
On the surface it seems like a pretty strange move. As much as I love Knocked Up, I don’t think Rudd and Mann’s characters really stand out, nor would they work in anything other than supporting roles. However, this does seem to be following the same formula as Get Him to the Greek, which was a very loose spin-off from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I get the impression that Universal is asking for sequels to these successful comedies, and this is Apatow’s creative way of giving them what they want without just offering up a complete rehash. I can respect him for that.
The problem, I think, is that Russell Brand’s character was a lot more interesting and definitely one of the highlights of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Although I like Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, unless they come up with a unique premise, I’m picturing a dull comedy about marriage that resembles the latter half of Funny People. Maybe it will focus on Pete’s fantasy baseball league as well? Either way, the movie already has a tentative release date of June 1st, 2012, so clearly Universal is expecting big things from it. Are you excited about the prospects of a Knocked Up spin-off?