‘Tis (almost) the season as we wade into December, and in the spirit of a somewhat less tasteful Christmas, I recently watched seasonal comedy The Night Before. While I found the film to be a hit-and-miss affair, it was Seth Rogen’s performance that was the stand-out, as the seasoned comedy actor is responsible the majority of its laughs. Given my festive mood, and the numerous moments of laughter he has provided over the years, here is my list of the top 5 Seth Rogen films.
- This Is The End
Given the critical and commercial success behind this directorial debut for Rogen and his long-time filmmaking partner Evan Goldberg, this film proved that Seth Rogen is not just Canada’s top funny man internationally, but also one of Hollywood’s leading filmmakers of R-rated comedy. While Rogen is not the primary source of comedy here (that title goes to Michael Cera and Danny McBride), both he and Goldberg were responsible for the most pivotal creative aspects of this star-studded feature.
- The 40-Year-Old Virgin
This is actually the film that introduced to the likes of Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, and all things Apatow. Even though I was only in my early teenage years the first time I saw this gem, and some of the jokes at the time went over my head, I still found more than enough moments of side-splitting humour. Though Rogen played only a supporting role here, he was still part of the greater whole, as from that moment on I was hooked on future Apatow productions, and eagerly awaited his next production…
- Knocked Up
…Which turned out to be Rogen’s first leading role. This is also the first film where truly Rogen plays the type of role for which audiences know him best: the loveable stoner who just needs to grow up. Apatow’s ability to juggle humour with drama, coupled with Rogen’s humorous performance, resonated with audiences and critics alike, and the pair are still benefitting from its success today.
It is no easy task to make a film about cancer as much of a comedy as it is a drama, but director Jonathan Levine manages to find that perfect balance. A big reason for this is Rogen being the film’s comic relief with an affective twist, as his character takes the time to show his best friend (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who may be dying, how to live again. This is arguably Rogen’s most grounded performance to date.
Topping the list is one of my all-time favourite comedies…so the others were at a bit of a disadvantage to begin with! Released the same year as Knocked Up, 2007 proved to be the breakout year for Rogen, with Philadelphia Weekly calling it “the year Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen saved movie comedy.” Originally written by Rogen and Goldberg as teenagers, this is pure comedy gold from start to finish, with memorable comic set pieces, endlessly quotable dialogue, and of course, McLovin.
Image Courtesy of Angela George on Wikimedia Commons.