I can’t think of a single interesting thing to say about A.O. Scott‘s “The Death of Adulthood in American Culture,” which appears in today’s Sunday N.Y. Times magazine. I despise submental, diaper-boy humor in comedies (Zak Galfianakis, etc.) but I’m sick of bitching about that. Maybe it’s best to just re-run an HE piece called “Party On” that I posted in July 2006? Scott’s piece is broader and thinkier but mine addressed similar concerns.
“There’s a trend in movies about GenX guys in their early to mid 30s who’re having trouble growing up,” I began. “Guys who can’t seem to get rolling with a career or commit to a serious relationship or even think about becoming productive, semi-responsible adults, and instead are working dead-end jobs, hanging with the guys all the time, watching ESPN 24/7, eating fritos, getting wasted and popping Vicodins.
“There have probably been at least fifteen or twenty films that have come out over the last four or five years about 30ish guys finding it hard to get real.
“The 40 Year-Old Virgin was basically about a bunch of aging testosterone monkeys doing this same old dance (with Steve Carell’s character being a slightly more mature and/or sensitive variation). Virgin director-writer Judd Apatow has made a career out of mining this psychology. Simon Pegg’s obese layabout friend in Shaun of the Dead was another manifestation — a 245-pound Dupree.
“Prolonged adolescence is an old pattern, of course. The difference these days is that practitioner-victims are getting older and older.