Ranked: Judd Apatow Movies From Worst To Best

by Andrew Osborne

Judd Apatow is not the Steven Spielberg of contemporary comedy – mainly because he’s only personally directed three feature films, never co-owned a studio and doesn’t keep trying to shove Shia LaBeouf down our throats.
But one could potentially make a case for him as the George Lucas of comedy.  Like the massive-necked father of Luke Skywalker and Jar-Jar Binks, Apatow wields his distinctive creative stamp as a producer more often than he directs, elicits strong positive and negative feelings, and has made a fortune anticipating popular tastes (after years of creative cockblocking from hapless studio suits).
Lucas made his bones in Hollywood with an — at the time — unconventional teen comedy called American Graffiti, which Hollywood execs did their level best to kill (before falling all over themselves to claim credit once it became a runway hit).  Apatow’s own teen baby, Freaks & Geeks (which he executive produced, wrote and directed) was infamously smothered in its crib by NBC after one perfect season, but has since been enshrined in the pop culture hall of fame (along with other Apatowvian cult TV classics like Undeclared, The Ben Stiller Show and the beloved, groundbreaking Larry Sanders Show).
And just as Lucas recognized the talent and potential of future stars like Harrison Ford, Apatow has discovered and/or promoted and/or chummed around with a galaxy of “frat pack” all-stars throughout his career, from Ben Stiller, John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell to James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill.
That’s quite a comedic sausage party, and indeed one of the knocks against Apatow has always been that — with the exception of his wife, Leslie Mann — his cinematic clubhouse has largely been a rowdy boy’s club…
…which may explain Apatow’s involvement as one of the producers of Bridesmaids, the upcoming Kristin Wiig comedy (directed by Freaks & Geeks alum Paul Feig) that’s being promoted as the female answer to raunchy bromances like The Hangover.
But where does it fall in the overall Apatowverse?  To find out, your pals here at Nerve have created a worst-to-best ranking of the producer-director’s films (excluding projects he merely executive produced and his TV work – which, frankly, is arguably better than all of the following films combined)!

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