From the outhouse to the arthouse: how Hollywood’s kings of comedy got serious

Cinema’s former fart-gag maestros have recast themselves as social critics.

Are they the ideal pundits for an age of obscenity?A little over 20 years ago, There’s Something About Mary spearheaded a new era for what was known as gross-out comedy.

The film depicted Cameron Diaz’s central character with semen in her hair and Ben Stiller having a zipper accident, which probably helped birth the American Pie series, which in turn spawned such films as Road Trip and The Hangover.

Cut to the present, and the young upstart directors of these movies have recast themselves as purveyors of cerebral, political arthouse cinema.Earlier this year Green Book, directed by Peter Farrelly (of There’s Something About Mary), was named best film of the year at the Oscars.

Next year, Road Trip’s Todd Phillips – who also directed The Hangover movies – will almost certainly be in contention for awards with Joker.

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