Columnist Casts Judd Apatow as Conservative Icon

August 12, 2009  |  7:30am
The New York Times’ nominal conservative columnist, Ross Douthat, also happens to be a film critic for the National Review, and he recently married his jobs with a column about Judd Apatow that sent the (admittedly left-leaning) community of film bloggers into a fit.

In Douthat’s mind, Apatow’s movies “rebrand social conservatism for a younger generation that associates it primarily with priggishness and Puritanism.” Douthat is, of course, among the camp that sees Knocked Up at least partly as an anti-abortion parable, and he goes on to argue that The 40-Year-Old Virgin and especially Funny People espouse similar views that make a “conservative message about relationships and reproduction seem relatable, funny, down-to-earth and even sexy.”

Onlookers did not react kindly. But even if Douthat’s view of Apatow is reductive and in service of a political agenda, Apatow’s films have proven a curious magnet for political commentary over the years. Knocked Up arguably was the most-debated mainstream movie of 2007, largely because of the abortion question.

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