Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Heigl vs. Apatow at box offices, amid snipes

July 31, 2009

If their comments on Thursday to radio host Howard Stern are any indication, it looks like writer/director/producer Judd Apatow  and his protege Seth Rogen  are still sore over a comment Katherine Heigl  made about their 2007 movie “Knocked Up .” Heigl has said the movie, which she starred-in opposite Rogen, was a “little sexist” because it made women look like “shrews” and men seem “lovajudd-apatowble.”

The comment has generated controversy ever since she made it in 2007, with some praising Heigl for taking a feminist stand, and others accusing her of being ungrateful.

On Friday, Apatow’s film “Funny People ,” which stars Adam Sandler and Rogen, opens at theaters and will compete with Heigl’s star vehicle “The Ugly Truth,” which was No. 3 at the U.S. and Canada box offices last weekend with a $27.6 million debut.

On Howard Stern’s show on SIRIUS XM Radio, Apatow and Rogen took some jibes at Heigl and “The Ugly Truth,” which is about a career woman (Heigl) who relies on a boorish man (Gerard Butler) for dating advice, as the two become more than just friends.

“That (movie) sounds like it really puts women on a pedestal in a beautiful way,” Rogen said sarcastically on Stern’s show.

Apatow quipped, ”I hear there’s a scene where she’s wearing … underwear … with a vibrator in it, so I’d have to see if that was uplifting for women.”

How will “Funny People” fare against “The Ugly Truth”? For Apatow, it’s a much more serious movie than his box office hits of recent years, which include “Knocked Up,” “Superbad” and “The 40 Year-Old Virgin.” It’s about a comedian (Sandler) who is diagnosed with a deadly disease and must come to grips with his own mortality. Media reports have suggested Apatow is taking a risk with the film, and it has received mixed reviews, scoring a 65 percent rating on the critic aggregating website Rottentomatoes.com as of Thursday afternoon.

katherine-heiglEntertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwarzbaum called it a “long, sobering story without a punchline.”

But Heigl’s “The Ugly Truth” has fared even worse with the critics, logging only a 15 percent rating on Rottentomatoes.com as of Thursday afternoon. The fact that the movie has still performed relatively well with audiences shows Heigl has the star power to connect with moviegoers, no matter what the critics say.

Will she overcome some static from Apatow and Rogen and come out on top again this weekend? Maybe not. The Hollywood Reporter expects “Funny People” to be No. 1 this weekend, and make more than $20 million.

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