Jonah Hill is growing up, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
The actor who came of age in bawdy comedies like “Knocked Up” and “Superbad” is now a respected director. His 2018 feature “Mid90s” showed his potential, even if it didn’t make waves during awards season.
Now, the “War Dogs” star is attempting to reinvent his comedic past.
The 35-year-old spoke to a Berlin audience recently while promoting his directorial debut. The conversation veered from “Mid90s” to “Superbad,” his 2007 smash co-starring Michael Cera and Emma Stone. That film featured two high school buds trying to score booze for a killer party.
Hill started by defending the raw banter between the skateboarding characters in “Mid90s.”
“Traditional masculinity was not to show emotion, not to show sensitivity, not to show vulnerability, because it’s ‘feminine’ or, God forbid, ‘gay’ to do so,” he said. “What that does, and what we’ve seen, is that it leads to a lot of horrible behavior, and a lot of bad actions.”
Translation: He’s fully on board with Woke America’s attack on “toxic masculinity.”
Translation, Part II: Don’t come at me, Social Justice Warriors. My film was just reflecting reality at the time.
Later, Hill revisited his early comedies with something less than admiration.
“I love those films, but I also think that if you look back at those films, a lot of what they’re showing is major bro comedy, and bro masculinity,” he said.
Hill added that he hoped he could “illuminate” young fans of his earlier work about some of the problematic behavior it depicted, saying: “It’s not like a responsibility. It’s where my heart is, and what I want to make. But at the same time I’m learning I’ve got to unlearn a lot of stuff, and maybe some of the people that liked ‘Superbad’ will come with me on that journey.”
So future generations will watch, and howl at, “Superbad.” At the same time he wants them to follow his personal woke journey and “unlearn” what his films taught them.
Hill isn’t the only “Superbad” alum apologizing for his hit film. Co-star/screenwriter Seth Rogen also got woke in recent years. Toward that end, he too offered up a mea culpa for his own words.
“There are probably some jokes in ‘Superbad’ that are bordering on blatantly homophobic at times,” Rogen continued. “They’re all in the voice of high school kids, who do speak like that, but I think we’d also be silly not to acknowledge that we also were, to some degree, glamorizing that type of language in a lot of ways.”
Hill’s comments also remind us of the uber-woke pose struck by “Superbad” producer Judd Apatow. The writer/director single-handedly brought the bro-comedy back to life with films such as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.”
Fellow comic Dave Landau thinks Apatow’s routine is a defense against future attacks on his body of work. He might be right.
Is Hill taking the same preemptive strategy?