Willa, I don’t think the problem with Apatow’s movies is that the women are flawed or not sufficiently romanticized; it’s that they’re shallow. Is it “romanticizing” a gender to give it depth? The great thing about the men in Apatow flicks is how nuanced and insecure and sweet they are under their foul-mouthed, stoner exteriors. The women, though, are often either blatant stereotypes (the sex-crazed bimbo or sex-crazed boss in The 40-Year-Old Virgin ) or cryptic sphinxes.
In the speech you linked to, Willa, Apatow responds to critiques that Katherine Heigl’s character in Knocked Up should have had an abortion : “I’m like, ‘What? Really? But then what would I do? That would have happened at minute eight, and then what happens?” But it’s not the lack of abortion itself that was unsatisfying. It was that you never understand why she didn’t seem to consider that option. While the bro hang-out sessions (the glue and the highlight of an Apatow film) give us plenty of insight into the mind of the Seth Rogen character, we never quite get what’s going on in Heigl’s head. I’m not asking for romanticized women characters, but it would be nice if they weren’t quite so inscrutable.
Production still of Knocked Up courtesy of Universal Pictures.