Comedy for the Disenfranchised

The cinema of Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, and Judd Apatow is that of the disenfranchised; their films are populated by individuals who feel the modern world wantonly ignores their desires and belittles their ambitions.

That these films are comedies does not mask their characters’ yearning for sympathy and understanding; much of the humour is rooted in their inability to ask for or accept that which they seek in earnest.

Each director employs a different style of writing, which can be reduced to a simple, easy to follow formula:

Noah Baumbach (Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, Greenberg): passive-aggressive

EXT. STREET – DAY

A Father and Son idle on the street-corner.

Father

Your hair is thinning

Wes Anderson (Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox): non-sequitur

INT. ELEVATOR – NIGHT

Eccentric Person 1 turns to Eccentric Person 2

Eccentric Person 1

Two, please.

Eccentric Person 2 

I’m sorry I pushed you.

Eccentric Person 1 

I know.

Judd Apatow (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Funny People): male-centric

INT. ROOM – DAY

Man-Child, Mature Female sit in a room.

Man-Child

I have a penis.

Mature Female

You have a penis.

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