Did you hear the one about the stocky schlub who entered 2007 a supporting player and walked out one of comedy's biggest stars? After "Knocked Up" and "Superbad," Seth Rogen became one of the brightest bulbs in the firmament. Who will break through in 2008? No joke, it could be Rogen again.
To prove this, MTV News, the pope and a rabbi walked into a bar ... and we walked out with the 10 comedies we're most looking forward to in the coming year.
10. "What Happens in Vegas ..." (May 16)
It's true what they say about how things that happen in Vegas stay in Vegas. Like when Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz wake up to find they're jackpot winners and married — that will stay in Vegas. Or like when I punched Carrot Top in the face — that stayed in Vegas too! Oh no, wait, that was in my dreams. But you get the point.
9. "Tropic Thunder" (July 11)
Along with Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr., Ben Stiller headlines this trip to paradise, where a group of soldier-playing actors must become the real deal after a series of freak accidents and misunderstandings. Think "A Bug's Life" (or "Three Amigos," for you older readers). The difference between those movies and this one? If you said a fat, bald Tom Cruise, collect your prize.
8. "Semi-Pro" (February 29)
Three years ago Will Ferrell did silly things while playing soccer, two years ago while race-car driving, and last year it was ice skating. Now the man they call one of comedy's brightest is going to act goofy while playing a basketball-team owner/manager/captain who hopes to get absorbed during the ABA league's 1970s takeover by the NBA. The great question, though, is what sport will Will Ferrell play in 2009? God, I hope it's badminton.
7. "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" (June 6)
The adventure, the danger, the excitement — most people want to be James Bond. Turns out, James Bond wants to be like most people. That's the setup, anyway, for Adam Sandler's new comedy, the story of an Israeli intelligence agent who ditches his identity to become an NYC hairdresser. If I had a nickel for every time I thought a Sandler comedy would be immeasurably better if he dropped the phony accent (see: "The Waterboy," "Little Nicky," "Chuck & Larry," etc.) I'd be rich — but not nearly as rich as Sandler, a comic able to take even the silliest premise (see: "The Waterboy," "Little Nicky," "Chuck & Larry," etc.) and turn it into box-office gold.
6. "The Love Guru" (June 20)
I'm getting a little verklempt. Mike Myers doesn't take breaks from writing so much as he hibernates. Though he's been silent scriptwriting-wise since Austin Powers' last go-round in 2002, Myers is finally back with Pitka, the love guru to Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake and Verne Troyer (Mini-Me). With all that talent, the only question is ... just what new catchphrase will we be saying come 2009?
5. "Leatherheads" (April 4)
Just a year ago, former NFL-player-turned-actor Terry Crews bemoaned to MTV that, even though it's the nation's most popular sport, there is no film that takes a nostalgic look at football, a film that could match "Field of Dreams" or "The Natural." Fortunately, George Clooney understands that, like whiskey and soda or Mom and apple pie, nothing goes with football quite like ... the 1920s? Following his last directorial effort, "Good Night, and Good Luck," Clooney also produces and stars in "Leatherheads," which centers on the formation of professional football. Also, at some point Renée Zellweger will look like she just ate something really sour.
4. "Step Brothers" (July 25)
Not every story can be original. This one is literally the second oldest ever told. You know, the one about the two feuding brothers. The twist this time? Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly play the Cain- and Abel-like characters, two middle-age alpha males who become fierce competitors when their parents get married.
3. "I Know What Boys Like" (August 22)
Like "What Women Want" eight years ago, the title of this comedy supposes that the objects of desire are the movie's stars. Anna Faris and Katharine McPhee portray a former Playboy bunny and a knocked-up sorority sister, respectively, meaning this flick offers up two beautiful women as collegiate, promiscuous and in varying stages of undress. "I Know What Boys Like"? Indeed you do, director Fred Wolf, indeed you do!
2. "Be Kind Rewind" (February 22)
Starring Jack Black and Mos Def, this Michel Gondry film was originally supposed to open last year — hey, you try re-creating a slew of great movies on a $10 budget. An impossibility for you and me, it's a ticket to the dream factory for Black and Def, video-store clerks who have to refilm "Driving Miss Daisy," "Ghostbusters," "Back to the Future" and more after a freak accident erases the store's VHS library. Interestingly, having seen their version of "Robocop," I can tell you that they're already better action directors than Tim Story.
1. "Pineapple Express" (August 8)
Hollywood has a long history of giving its most successful supporting players their own full-blown movies. Think Tommy Lee Jones in "The Fugitive," Timon and Pumbaa in "The Lion King" or ... Brad Pitt in "True Romance"? To hear producer Judd Apatow tell it, Pitt's brief, scene-stealing performance partially inspired this stoner comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, which might be best described as a cross between "Lethal Weapon" and "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure." But forget all that, here's all you need to know about why this flick tops our list of the year's most anticipated comedies: It features a song by Huey friggin' Lewis. We're talking "Power of Love" here, people. 'Nuff said.
Hungry for more on what to expect from this year's fleet of flicks? Check out these other 2008 movie previews:
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