I have never posted a link to anything without substantive commentary of my own, but I have almost nothing to add to this piece and it’s too much a crusade of mine to pass up.
See, I’ve been complaining about comedic movies for years now, and Adam Sternbergh has done the best possible job of it over at the New York Times:
Together, like Lenin and Trotsky, [Todd] Phillips and [Judd] Apatow have engineered a comedic-cinematic putsch. “Old School,” in 2003, was the April Theses for this uprising, and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” in 2005, was its October Revolution. […] What these auteurs truly have in common, though, is that they have systematically boiled away many of the pleasures previously associated with comedy — first among these, jokes themselves — and replaced them with a different kind of lure: the appeal of spending two hours hanging out with a loose and jocular gang of goofy bros. (Also: ritual humiliation. Humiliation is a big part of it, too.)
As an aside, I am quick to defend TV comedy without really knowing why. In Sternbergh’s formulation, it’s because TV comedy still features jokes. Amazing stuff.