Modern Family: The Complete Second Season
Coolest extra: Never-before-seen family member interviews (DVD/Blu-ray)
Complex says: Those who tuned in to FOX this past Sunday witnessed the 2011 Modern Family Awards, or at least that what the Emmys felt like for the event’s first hour. Before a sanitized Charlie Sheen even took the stage as a presenter, Modern Family had won four statues: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Ty Burrell), Outstanding Supporting Actress (Julie Bowen), Outstanding Directing, and Outstanding Writing. Surprisingly, the hit ABC sitcom beat out FOX’s own crown jewel, Glee, an unexpected development being that Glee star Jane Lynch hosted the festivities.
Normally in such cases of awards show domination, we’d take a contrarian’s stance and spew hatred towards the victor, but that’s just not possible here. For once, the Academy’s voting squad got it right; at a week-to-week clip, Modern Family is always good for a multitude of belly laughs, and the show’s second season managed to improve upon its premiere run’s unforeseen excellence. The cast, namely Sofia Vergara, Bowen, and youngsters Rico Rodriguez and Nolan Gould, began to own their characters, and the writers’ fearlessness in the face of silliness led to several A-quality episodes, including the holiday-themed “Halloween” and “Slow Down Your Neighbors,” in which guest star James Marsden steals the show.
Twenty-four episodes deep, Modern Family’s second season is, somehow, without any real clunkers. It isn’t necessary to watch the whole bundle prior to tomorrow night’s Season Three premiere, since the stakes are rarely higher than “Will Claire Dunphy catch Phil in some dumbass act?” And that's fine by us.
Buy it now: Modern Family: The Complete Second Season
Coolest extra: Commentary with Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McClendon-Covery, and director Paul Feig (DVD); “Made Of Honor: Behind The Scenes Of Bridesmaids” featurette (Blu-ray only)
Complex says: Thank the comedy gods for Kristen Wiig. With three months remaining on its calendar, 2011 has so far been a dismal year for big-screen laughs, a point accentuated by the wretched The Hangover Part II’s disheartening success and our inability to recall a single scene from movies like Hall Pass, Horrible Bosses, or Bad Teacher. So, that being said, Bridesmaids continues to earn good will for both actually being funny and providing memories with a trio of lasting images: Maya Rudolph defecating in an expensive wedding dress out in public, Wiig drunkenly making an ass of herself on a commercial airplane and with a chocolate fountain, and Wiig blasting hardcore rap jams from car speakers while trying to get her love interest’s attention.
Co-written by Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids follows in the tradition of producer Judd Apatow’s previous films, combining raunchy humor with heartfelt characters. It’s not as painfully real to us as it is to, say, our mothers and future wives—the only wedding planning we’ll ever need to do is hiring a quick-handed bartender and stocking the liquor cabinets with top-shelf booze. But Bridesmaids finds clever ways to garner empathy, giving its terrific ensemble cast (also including a wonderfully snooty Rose Byrne and the naively innocent Ellie Kemper) many chances to simultaneously work their comedic and dramatic muscles. And they rarely drop the ball. For that, Bridesmaids is the year’s best comedy, which, admittedly, is akin to calling Watch The Throne 2011’s best Jay-Z album—Wiig’s breakout project hasn’t gone up against any legitimate competition.
Buy it now: Bridesmaids
We Are The Night
Coolest extra: Theatrical trailer (DVD)
Complex says: Glancing at the plot synopsis and cast photos, you’d think that We Are The Night would be a surefire Complex recommendation. The action-horror flick marries two of our favorite kinds of eye candy: sexy German women and promiscuous female vampires. So why are we hesitant to fully advocate director Dennis Gansel’s undead chick flick? Perhaps distracted by his cast’s hotness, Gansel forgot to write a compelling script; anyone who’s seen The Lost Boys knows exactly where We Are The Night, also about a living person recruited by a crew of undead night-stalkers, is heading.
But damn if watching gorgeous women seduce each other and give people bloody hickeys isn’t a great way to kill time. And, frankly, fans of schlocky horror could do a lot worse. Lavishly shot, We Are The Night looks like a million bucks, and Gansel’s more than able to stage an effective action sequence—one car chase, in particular, heightened by the clever idea of shooting bullet-holes through car windows in broad daylight to stop vamps, is a show-stopper. It’s no Stake Land, but We Are The Night knows its strengths and exploits them well. So, yes, there is a scene in which the ladies feast upon men underwater while rocking swimwear. Fuck it, consider this our official recommendation.