Today’s film industry is capable of producing four genres: super hero movies (Hulk), remakes (The Incredible Hulk), Ben Stiller embarrassment films (all films starring the American actor Ben Stiller), and brick flicks.
Brick flick has two meanings, but this post will focus on the latter.
1. Slang for stop motion animation with LEGO or other brick-like elements (see: BrickFilms.com)
2. A hybrid comedy targeting both sexes (see: Judd Apatow)
How do brick flicks work? They start out as buddy or “bro-hive” movies, weaving a rich tapestry of farts, porn, bongs, and nerd-friendly pop culture references. This renders guys so intoxicated they barely notice (or care) that trademarks of the dreaded romantic comedy have already begun to reveal themselves. Female characters bond with each other over activities such as shopping, dancing, and chocolate. Then – and this is key – ladies begin showing the ability to “clean up” their slack-ass, caveman-like male counterparts.
In their final acts, brick flicks morph into full-on, unmitigated chick flicks. Sure, a broseph might crash the wedding armed with a hilarious dick or poop joke, but all such matters are trivial. The transformation – for both the male protagonist and the film itself – is complete. It’s a simple formula, but one that always works because people really are that predictable.
Brick flicks commonly include Lopsided Hotness Ratios (LHRs) – unrealistic girl-to-guy levels of physical attractiveness that are always tipped heavily in the direction of the female character. LHRs, much like films about time travel, are sometimes so extreme that the audience is forced to completely suspend their sense of reality (Jonah Hill and Emma Stone, from Superbad), while others are slightly more plausible (Seth Rogan and Katherine Heigl, from Knocked Up). Though the LHR phenomenon has long existed in Hollywood, hotness standards for actresses in the past decade have skyrocketed. If Brat Pack icon Molly Ringwald were 21 today, would she be cast as the “it girl,” or her homely advice-giving sidekick? Today’s actors, meanwhile, continue to enjoy the “everyman” role.
Another feature that is unique to most brick flicks and Saturday Night Live sketches is the Unfunny Scene That Goes On For Way Too Long (UFSWTLs). Examples include the “do you know how I know you’re gay?” and electronics store scenes from The 40 Year Old Virgin, and all of the movie Knocked Up.
The newest brick flick, I Love You, Man, is perhaps the genre’s best offering yet. It tastefully steers clear of LHRs and UFSWTLs, and doesn’t try to appeal to your baser cinema instincts by constantly bashing you over the head with its “br-ness” and “ick-ness.” It is, in the words of Jason Segel’s character from the film, a revelation. Also, it is not produced or directed by Apatow – coincidence? TLOS awards this movie a 8.735 out of 9.8 and highly recommends you rent it when it comes out on video.
Are brick flicks harmless fun or destructive forces that need to be stopped? Tell us what you think!