Maya Rudolph

Maya Rudolph

Friday night during the Los Angeles Film Festival, the talented (and 8 months pregnant) Maya Rudolph sat down with LACMA curator and host of KCRW’s The Treatment, Elvis Mitchel, to discuss “the serious business of being funny.” From her days at SNL to her early days watching movies with her dad (composer Richard Rudolph) in Westwood, Rudolph shared some of her favorite comedic moments from various films and how various comedians influenced and advised her throughout her career. Read on for ten tips and antidotes from Rudolph on the art of being funny, her memories growing up in comedy, what kind of comedians she is attracted to, and who gave her the best advice of her career.

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odenkirk

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup you’re going to want to be following if you want news about which cult movie icon has just been cast in Guardians of the Galaxy. If your eyeballs and brain have been anywhere near an episode of Mr. Show or Breaking Bad, then chances are you’re a pretty big fan of the comic stylings of the respected though curmudgeonly Bob Odenkirk. Well, good news for you, because Odenkirk just wrote a movie called Girlfriend’s Day that he’s also going to star in. According to a release from Magic Stone Productions and Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment, Best Worst Movie and The American Scream helmer Michael Paul Stephenson will direct the film, which sees Odenkirk playing a famous author in a world where greeting card writers are celebrated as heroes. The film will apparently see Odenkirk’s character and his rivals engaging each other in a campaign of murder and deceit, all in the name of creating the definitive greeting card for the hot new holiday, Girlfriend’s Day. Sounds pretty weird, but in that good way.

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Channel Guide - Large

With most of the sitcoms that debuted in the fall (and managed to escape cancellation) winding down this week, I think it’s time to crown a winner. Which one of these brand new sitcoms most deserves to stick around?  Which was the most memorable? Which came out on top? Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl has already been renewed, Whitney was a thing that happened, but the show that worked the best for me was NBC’s Up All Night. Executive produced by Lorne Michaels and created by former Saturday Night Live writer Emily Spivey, Up All Night is a funny and relatable look at the life of a married couple, played by Christina Applegate and Will Arnett, trying to adapt to life with a new baby. Arnett is Chris, a former lawyer who has decided to stay home with their daughter while Appelgate’s Regan returns to work where she struggles to balance motherhood with the demands of her larger than life boss Ava—an Oprah-like talk show host played by Maya Rudolph. The show was this season’s best new sitcom and here are four reasons why.

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At a certain age, everyone has them – people they love, friends they’ve grown up with, beloved compatriots that have turned into frazzled, mewling monsters. Let’s call them what they are – Friends With Kids. In Jennifer Westfeldt‘s film, she stars as one half of a non-couple with no kids – her Julie Keller has a great apartment and a great job and a great pack of friends, but she’s nowhere near the stage of life when she’ll announce at a dinner that she’s pregnant, or move to Brooklyn to have more space for the rugrats, or to turn into a shell of herself after months of no sleep and no sex and a crying baby. Her best friend, Jason Fryman (Adam Scott) is in the same boat – a bit of a playboy, he’s loose with both his morals and his money, and in absolutely no state to settle down and have a kid. Which doesn’t quite explain how much they both secretly want to. When the other four members of their inner circle (including Bridesmaids veterans Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm, and Kristen Wiig), already paired off and married, start having children, Julie and Jason are both struck by two thoughts. One – they want kids. Two – they don’t want to have them the way their friends have them. All Julie and Jason can see is the disintegration of romance, beaten down by babies screaming for binkies, lack of sex, and abject exhaustion – which is why […]

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The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Idiocracy (2006) The Plot: Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson), a private in the United States Army, is the quintessential average joe. He’s not smart, but he’s not dumb. He’s not handsome or ugly, physically gifted or deficient. He is, by all accounts, the exactly average American. As such, he’s selected to be a guinea pig in a top secret hibernation experiment for one year. However, when the commanding officer of the experiment is busted for running a prostitution ring, Joe and fellow guinea pig prostitute Rita (Maya Rudolph) awaken 500 years in the future where America is really, really dum. (Get it, I spelled dumb wrong on purpose?)

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Perhaps you watched Bridesmaids and wondered to yourself, “self, I wonder what it would be like if Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm’s characters had a functional romantic relationship. And, perhaps what it would be like if Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd‘s characters were married with kids. And maybe Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt could be there, too.” Fine, if you wondered about any of that, it was probably just the first part – but, hey, bonus! Actress Westfeldt has already penned two romantic indies that she’s also starred in (Kissing Jessica Stein and Ira & Abby), and she’s pulling triple-duty on her next, the amply-titled Friends With Kids. The film follows just that – three very different couples who are all at different points in their lives, particularly when it comes to child-rearing. While Wiig and Hamm are newlyweds and Rudolph and O’Dowd are married parents, Scott and Westfeldt play best friends who decide to have a kid together, even though they’re not romantically involved. As the film’s first trailer shows, that kid comes – followed by a romantic interest for both of his parents. Stock up on your folic acid and check out the film’s first trailer after the break.

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Drinking Games

It was one of the uproarious, raunchiest and most beloved comedies of the summer. No, we’re not talking about The Hangover: Part II. We’re talking about the ultimate women’s lib movie, Bridesmaids, which showed that beautiful ladies can burp, fart and poop on screen just like the men can. The DVD and Blu-ray of Bridesmaids drops today, complete with an unrated version of the film, so now you can invite your mom, grandmother and aunt over for a maid of honor toast with your favorite beverage and enjoy the movie again.

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There’s not a single mean-spirited bone in Paul Feig‘s Bridesmaids. This is a rare comedy, in the sense of how sweet and clearly in love the director and cast are with its characters. This is a film about genuinely good people who make terrible, but understandable, mistakes. Whenever the tone skirts towards taking a mean turn, Feig reverts back to honesty and realism. The writer-director is no stranger to that type of grounded comedy; just look at his cult classic show Freaks and Geeks. The only character that many will find despicable is one: Ted (played by Jon Hamm). Ted is that moronic jock who thinks he can take and have whatever he wants. Nearly every other line he says reeks of an idiot, and yet he’s still oddly likable. Someone so narcissistic should never be this charming. Here’s what the friendly and talkative Paul Feig had to say about mean-spirited comedy, shooting comedic sex, and having characters talk like real people:

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The comparison of Bridesmaids to The Hangover is surface level, marketing nonsense, but the idea is so prevalent that it seems like it needs to be shaken off before talking about the movie. Are there pre-wedding antics? Yes. Is it outrageous? Only sometimes. It is pure situational comedy? Not at all. In contrast, Bridesmaids is far more character driven, and that’s where half the humor comes from. Of course, it’s hilarious to watch these women get into ridiculous situations involving body functions, but there’s far more to the story than a group jumping from absurdity to absurdity in hot pink taffeta. This review should also be taken with a grain of salt, though, because I missed several minutes of the movie. Why? Because a fight almost broke out in the theater. An upstanding member of society kept pulling out his cell phone, an older gentleman asked him politely to put it away, and curse words were flung back. More curse words came, and rather than watch a cell phone-addicted asshat get himself so worked up that he leaped over a row of seats to beat up a senior citizen who just wanted to enjoy a movie, I ducked out to go snag a manager. So, yes. I missed a little bit. But even still, Bridesmaids worked fantastically well. That seems like a testament to its strengths.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets set for another weekend of weddings with Kristen Wiig and her posse. Sadly, he discovers that he doesn’t have a vagina and decides to move on. Next, he takes a trip to an alternate world where priests kick ass and kill vampires. Once he realizes he is woefully out of place next to sultry Maggie Q in a ninja priest outfit, he comes home to find his possessions kicked to the curb with Will Ferrell in the middle of the whole mess.

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Wacky crew of individuals who would never be friends in real life? Check. Sequence of main actor taking a drug and being crazy? Check. Stock wedding plot set up? Double and triple check. Bridesmaids has got it all. While the presence of Judd Apatow as producer and Paul Feig (the creator of Freaks and Geeks) as director might inspire some confidence, this trailer doesn’t. It’s a strong cast, sure, but everything here looks about as middle of the road as possible. Check it out for yourself:

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Coach Buzzer (Blake Clark), an influential Junior High Basketball coach, has died. His championship team of 1978 gets together for the first time in a long time to reconnect and celebrate the life of a great man at the same lake house where they celebrated victory 30 years before. Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) is an important Hollywood agent whose wife Roxanne (Salma Hayek Pinault) is a clothing designer. Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James) is a furniture store manager with a wife (Maria Bello) who still breast feeds their 4-year old son. Kurt McKenzie (Chris Rock) is a house husband who loves cooking shows and getting generally shit on by his wife Deanne (Maya Rudolph). Marcus Higgins (David Spade) is still single and still obsessed with sex. Rob Hilliard (Rob Schneider) is a new age mess who’s married to a woman twice his age named Gloria (Joyce Van Patten).

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Kevin and Neil meet up again in the Magical Studio in the Sky to talk about their lackluster thoughts on this week’s new movies… and boobs. They also contemplate why movies aren’t making as much money this summer and what are the best sandwiches they have ever had.

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I had a chance to sit down along with a group of journalists at SXSW with stars Will Forte and Kristen Wiig. Among the topics for the day: shooting a sex scene in a 100-degree room and trying not to burst into laughter, the development of these characters from short-form to feature film, the prospect of a Gilly movie and Will Forte’s unique relationship with Maya Rudolph’s newborn daughter.

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awaywego11

Away We Go is… very funny. Very sweet. Sometimes sad. Often beautiful. One of the best films of the year. And easily Sam Mendes’ greatest film yet.

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away-we-go-01

The star and director of Away We Go sat down with someone else’s cameras and we stole the footage. We’re very sneaky. Very. Sneaky. Just kidding. It’s promotional.

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