This is going to be the summer of fun. No, really. Until recently, comedies were on the Hollywood endangered-species list, but for some reason this summer there are more of them than there are pirates of the Caribbean. Which ones will actually make you laugh? Beats us. So we asked the folks vying for your comedy dollar to enter a contest: using your film as inspiration, tell us something funny, and do it in 100 words or fewer. (Mr. Apatow seems to have difficulty playing by the rules—typical director.) Who won? We report, you decide.
On 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry' (JULY 20)
Sandler and Kevin James ("The King of Queens") play straight firemen who register as domestic partners to safeguard their pensions. And then become the city's most visible "gay" couple.
In this movie Kevin James and I have to pretend we're a gay couple. I know Kevin, and it's kind of a strange thing to have to play. So to ease the tension, before the first day of shooting, we had sex with each other. We just got it out of the way so it wouldn't be an issue. It's an old tip I picked up from working with Nicholson. We took some liberties in the movie. There's a scene where I mistake Kevin James's boxers for a pillowcase and stuff a pillow in them. That was not Kevin's real underwear. We used that as a mattress cover. This movie says there's nothing wrong with being gay. There's just something wrong with being gay for Kevin James.
On 'Ratatouille' (JUNE 29)
In this Pixar movie, Oswalt ("The King of Queens") voices Remy, a gourmet living beneath a French bistro who dreams of becoming a chef. Unfortunately, he happens to be a rat. Oswalt talks about the unusual way he researched his role:
I can't believe I'm the lead in a movie whose title is the word I scream when I wake up in the morning or see a big bug. And this is the lead in a Pixar movie. Directed by Brad Bird. To prepare, I wanted to go the extra mile. "Ratatouille" is a stew of many vegetables. So I spent hours in a Dumpster surrounded by radishes, carrots, potato chips, absorbing the essence of truth. Non-actors would call this "essence" a "stench." A lot of my actor friends did, too. I smell a hit.
On 'The Ten' (AUG. 3)
Rudd ("Night at the Museum") stars in this comedy that pokes fun at the Ten Commandments. He continues the sacrilegious laughs here, and starts the ball rolling on a sequel:
Though it's debated, many people believe that there was a first set of commandments that Moses smashed in a fit of anger (because the Israelites chose to worship the golden calf. Great!). Through extensive research (i.e., Wikipedia), a few of the originals have been unearthed. Drumroll, please:
Coming next week: the Bill of Rights!
On 'Evan Almighty' (JUNE 22)
Carell ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin") plays a modern-day Noah commanded by God to build an ark, with a little help from the animal kingdom.
Most of the animals were sort of sweet, but I have a fungus all over me now that I don't know what to do about. The baboons were a pain in the ass. They don't like to improvise. In one take, one of them knocked over a glass of lemonade and I, improvising, chided him, saying, "Hey, man, what are you doing?!" The baboon went crazy, bared its teeth, got all upset. Afterward, his trainer said, "You might not want to do that. As a matter of fact, you probably shouldn't look him in the eye." Yeah. Thanks for telling me that before we shot the scene.
On 'Hot Rod' (AUG. 3)
"Saturday Night Live" comedian Samberg stars as an amateur stuntman who plans to motorcycle-jump over 15 buses to pay for his stepfather's heart operation. ten things you'll need to enjoy watching "Hot Rod" in space:
On 'Charlie Bartlett' (AUG. 3)
Davis ("American Splendor") is the self-medicated mother of a teenager (Anton Yelchin) who supplies his school with antidepressants, though he's not too depressed to fall for the principal's daughter. That inspired Davis to share her own first try at romance:
My first kiss occurred at Nina Herman's bat mitzvah. We were in the basement, a group of us, playing spin the bottle. I remember Gary sitting across from me—his toothpick body, big feet, large head. He gave the bottle a tremendous spin, which seemed to take an eternity to find its target. When it did, pointing unmistakably at me, my breath caught in my throat. The next thing I knew I was sinking into a moldy beanbag chair, as Gary and his massive honker came toward me. I could see that his nose was going to reach me well before his dry little lips would, but I closed my eyes and hoped for the best.
On 'Knocked Up' (JUNE 1)
Apatow ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin") directs this story of a loser (Seth Rogen) who hooks up with a babe (Katherine Heigl). Then—oops—she gets pregnant.
Things in "Knocked Up" you won't see in "Pirates of the Caribbean 3," "Spider-Man 3" or "Ocean's 13": Paul Rudd on mushrooms at Cirque du Soleil, numerous gynecological exams, abortion debated by uninformed slackers, Harold Ramis, disastrous sex during the third trimester, men fighting with boxing gloves that are on fire, Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen cursing each other out at the doctor's office, men getting pink eye from farting on each other's pillows, a debate on how kick-ass the movie "Munich" is, doctors yelling at women who are about to give birth, celebrity wheelchair impressions, beard jokes, lots of beard jokes, Jason Segel running nude, intimate compelling drama followed by more beard jokes, and Ryan Seacrest being really funny. Seriously.
On 'Superbad' (AUG. 17)
Hill ("Accepted") and Michael Cera ("Arrested Development") play high-school best friends who spend one debauched, criminal, crazy night trying to buy alcohol in the hopes of getting a little action with some hot girls. Good luck with that, guys. Hill talks about why he's really desperate for "Superbad" to be a superbig hit:
Why is "Superbad" superfunny? I don't know and I don't care. I am just hoping the movie does well enough so a woman will not be embarrassed to make love to me. No joke. I don't care about money, I don't care about accolades, I don't care about being a movie star. I want to touch, or be in the vicinity of, a naked woman. I know you'd assume this would have happened after being that idiot in the wiener costume in "Accepted." Not the case. Let's just say I didn't end up in the Grotto with Jimmy Caan and two Playboy Playmates. In summation, help me out. See "Superbad."
On 'License to Wed' (JULY 4)
Williams plays a clergyman who forces a couple to undergo his brutal marriage-preparation course before he will join them in holy matrimony.
On 'Good Luck Chuck' (AUG. 24)
Stand-up sensation Cook plays a guy who discovers that women are going out with him only because they think he's a good-luck charm. After they break up with him, all his girlfriends immediately find husbands. So maybe he's not such good luck for the guys.
Five things you shouldn't say during a first sexual encounter:
MARC SHAIMAN AND SCOTT WITTMAN
On 'Hairspray' (JULY 20)
Set in 1962 Baltimore, this movie of the musical of the movie (got that?) features John Travolta in drag as Edna Turnblad, the big mother of a big girl with a big dream to be on the local TV dance show. To celebrate Travolta's transformation, the film's co-lyricists, Tony winners Shaiman and Wittman, penned this ditty, sung to the tune of "Stayin' Alive."
On 'Surf's Up' (JUNE 8)
LaBeouf ("Holes") voices Cody Maverick, a young penguin surfer with a hunger for glory who comes to learn—of course—that winning isn't everything. Turns out, starring in a penguin movie isn't, either.
These penguins are taking over Hollywood. We all realize it. You come to the set, and they've got flat screens in their trailers, every room has to be kept below 40 degrees. I'm telling the director, "It's too f---ing cold, man." He doesn't care. What can you do? They've got better managers, better agents. Some of these penguins read two, three scripts a day! How can I possibly keep up? One of these penguins, James, was all into the Method thing, telling me to read Stanislavsky and then quizzing me. I'm telling you, it's no fun, dude. It was traumatizing.
THOSE OTHER MOVIES
We almost forgot—actually, we'd like to forget—all those franchises coming back for seconds and thirds (and fourths and fifths) this summer. They certainly don't need our free publicity, so here they all are, stuck at the end: Spider-Man 3 (May 4), Shrek the Third (May 18), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (May 25), Ocean's 13 (June 8), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (June 15), Live Free or Die Hard (June 27), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (July 13), The Bourne Ultimatum (Aug. 3), Rush Hour 3 (Aug. 10).