RESCUED FROM OBSCURITY
Graham Parker and the Shot
"Wake Up (Next To You)"
Recently I watched the Judd Apatow flick This Is 40, his middle-aged crisis comedy from a few years back. It wasn't very good. I didn't have high expectations going in, as Apatow films are pretty hit or miss. He's partly responsible for Freaks and Geeks, a show that I absolutely adored (though I suspect the real brains behind that one was writer/director Paul Feig, who truly is awesome). But I also enjoyed Forgetting Sara Marshall and Pineapple Express, which I seem to recall were Apatow productions. And of course I love Girls, another show he's partly responsible for. But the rest of his cannon....meh.
The main problem with This Is 40 are the film's central characters; an unlikable yuppie couple and their annoying kids. And I'm usually willing to give unlikable characters a shot, because they are often--if handled right--among the most compelling. But there's unlikable and then there's unwatchable, and the central family of This Is 40 straddles a dangerous line between the two. I had a similar problem with Friends With Kids, which boasted a stellar cast (Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph, Jennifer Westfeldt, Chris O'Dowd, and Kristen Wiig, among others) but the characters were so grating I literally only got through the first ten minutes of that one before pulling the plug.
Anyhoo, is all leading up to the only positive thing about This Is 40 that stuck with me, and that is Graham Parker, who is the focus of one of the movie's subplots. You see, Paul Rudd's character runs a struggling record label and he's busting his balls trying to promote Parker's latest effort, with little success. It jogged my memory; I hadn't thought about Graham Parker in years, perhaps not since around 1985, when the one song I'm familiar with was a very minor hit. The song is called "Wake Up (Next To You)," and it's a charming, bittersweet tune with a strong Elvis Costello-y vibe, and enough of an earworm that it's stayed with me after thirty years (which is really saying something).
The video is pretty cool, too. And like I said, the song is something of an earworm. Good luck getting it out of your head--although it's a great song, so as earworms go that's not a bad thing.