NEW YORK — King of the bromance Paul Rudd will host Saturday Night Live this weekend. Okay, maybe you don’t have a crush on him, but I sure do.
Rudd, the Kansas-raised Jew and master of the ad-libbed comedic spiel (see “I Love You, Man” or “Wanderlust” or “Wet Hot American Summer” for evidence) will share the stage with the boy band of the moment, Britain’s One Direction.
The appearance is one of the few traditional parts of an unorthodox marketing campaign for “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” which has seen Rudd’s co-star Will Ferrell appearing in character at local news broadcasts out of North Dakota, in weird commercials for Dodge Durango and even at Emerson College for a one-day renaming of the communications school.
Most importantly, however, is the release of the “Anchorman”-themed Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor “Scotchy Scotch Scotch,” a reference to a line in the first film which, I tell you with firsthand knowledge, is absolutely delicious. (The “scotch” in question is butterscotch, not whiskey.)
Rudd has gotten into the act, too. Perhaps you saw his print ad for “Anchorman” underwear. That’s him in Sex Panther Red, not Beard of Zeus Blue. Click this link, if you dare.
This will be the third time hosting SNL for Rudd, one of the few actors working today who can tackle relationship comedies (“Admission,” “Our Idiot Brother,”) sketch humor and Shakespeare on Broadway.
But half a world away from NBC’s Studio 8H, there’s news from a mythical island shrouded in mystery. From this fabled realm of Amazonian warriors a new woman has been crowned a princess. Wait, do they coronate princesses? Listen, these ladies can do what they want, because they are fierce.
I’m speaking, of course, of Diana of Themyscira, better known as Wonder Woman, who will appear (albeit briefly, most likely) in Zack Snyder’s still untitled follow up to “Man of Steel.”
We’d be dancing in our underoos at the news regardless of who was cast, but rumors became official this week when Gal Gadot’s name was announced.
The former model and “IDF Hottie” (according to Maxim Magazine) hasn’t exactly proved her Hollywood chops yet (her roles in the “Fast and Furious” films have been very much off-to-the-side) but this part has the potential to launch her into the A-list.
So, until the first spy pics from the set appear of her in her costume, we’ll all be waiting for Gadot.
Shonda of the Week
There’s been a lot of tabloid talk this week about Anglo-Jewish celebrity chef Nigella Lawson admitting under oath that she’s taken illegal drugs for recreational use. Listen, who are we to judge? And, who knows, maybe she thought that white powder was some new kind of baking ingredient?
What’s been forgotten as Lawson’s name is dragged through the mud is how this character assassination stems from a larceny trial in which she is the victim, and, by extension, her divorce from that shonda ex-husband of hers, advertising and art mogul Charles Saatchi.
Saatchi, if you don’t pay attention to these things, was photographed by the British press with his hands around Lawson’s neck in a chokehold. Lawson had the strength and wisdom to pack up her children and move the hell out of the house.
So, while it’s not like we condone the use of cocaine (unless you’re an Inca and it’s part of your cultural heritage) let’s not forget who the real bad guy is.
With Nigella Lawson having a bad PR week, we declare British Jew of Iraqi origin Charles Saatchi the Shonda of the Week.
New From Hollywood
Inside Llewyn Davis: Joel and Ethan Coen, possibly the finest filmmakers working today, have a new masterpiece on their hands with “Inside Llewyn Davis,” a look at a self-perpetuated failure set during the 1960s folk revival scene. (Very) loosely based on the life of Dave Van Ronk, Oscar Isaac stars as the titular troubadour, wandering the cold streets of Greenwich Village, too poor for a winter coat.
F. Murray Abraham (who is not a Jew, in case you were wondering) plays the Albert Grossman-esque figure in a Kafkaesque “Before The Law” sequence that is among the most striking scenes of the Coens’ career. Joel and Ethan also pay homage to a fellow midwestern Jew by the name of Zimmerman in a similarly memorable moment. This film is not to be missed.
Lenny Cooke: Another pair of Jewish filmmaking siblings, Josh and Benny Safdie (“Daddy Longlegs,” “The Pleasure of Being Robbed”) offer up a very unique documentary in “Lenny Cooke.” It seems, at first, to be a straightforward profile of a basketball star. We begin in early 2001 when our subject Lenny Cooke, born into poverty in Brooklyn, is the focus of scouts and agents while still in high school. As he prepares for the NBA draft among colleagues Carmelo Anthony (a friend) and LaBron James (more of a rival) he has a rude awakening when no team claims him and the arcane rules of the NCAA disqualify him for a scholarship. The results, as you can imagine, are heartbreaking.
Twice Born: Jewish-American actor Emile Hirsch plays a photojournalist during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s in this snoozy soap opera. Penelope Cruz is the Italian mother reflecting back on the origins of her adopted child and murky roots amid the horrors of war. The movie wants to be grand in scope, like a modern “Doctor Zhivago,” but the drama just isn’t there.
Frozen: Jewish-American singer/dancer/actor/comedian/all-around-mensch Josh Gad is just one the many reasons to check out “Frozen,” arguably the best animated feature from the Walt Disney Company in years. Loosely based on a Hans Christian Andersen tale (“The Snow Queen”), “Frozen” is a straightforward adventure about princesses and the power of love. Progressives can proudly take their daughters, as the love interest, while present, is very much a B-story to the relationship between the cartoon sisters. Also, the songs will stay in your head for days.
Delivery Man: The sin of Onan catches up to Vince Vaughn in ways not predicted in the Book of Genesis in this lighthearted and emotional comedy. Twenty years ago, Vaughn’s character David Wozniak was a frequent donor at a sperm bank. For reasons that are never fully explained, his seed was used over 500 times, thus giving him a whole platoon of offspring. Despite an anonymity clause in the contract, his spawn are pushing a class action lawsuit through to meet their mysterious father.
It’s a far-fetched and somewhat sappy film, but ultimately ends with a warm, humanist message. As unlikely as it may seem, you may find yourself moved.
West Side Story: When you’re a Jet you stay a Jettttttttt! Jewish legends of the American Songbook Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim collaborated to create, perhaps, the greatest musical of the 20th Century. Adapting Shakespeare to the ethnic neighborhoods of New York City (now multimillion dollar real estate, go figure), this outstanding movie was co-directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (ne Rabinowitz.) If you’ve never seen Maria serenaded on the big screen you have an opportunity at the Haifa Cinematheque this Wednesday December 11 at 11 am. (Call in sick.)