One of Stoller’s most recent adult comedies, Why Him? follows a disgruntled dad and his adult daughter as she prepares to marry a man that the dad definitely disapproves of. Stoller did some work on this one, polishing up a script written by Jonah Hill and I Love You, Man scribe John Hamburg.
Stoller’s first Carrey collaboration actually saw him writing a script with Judd Apatow—no wonder he’d go on to mimic (and improve on) all the best parts of Apatow’s technique. Still, Fun with Dick and Jane is far from bad, even if everyone involved can do better.
Stoller has no aversion to sequels, it seems—Neighbors 2, a follow-up to the moderately received comedy Neighbors, was considered by many to be better than the first (a script Stoller had nothing to do with, but a movie that he got behind the camera for). It’s frequently hilarious, often gross, and generally a good way to spend an hour and a half or so.
A spinoff of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek suffers without Segel’s voice. Granted, he helped write a lot of the songs (which tend to be the funniest part of this), but Stoller does a fine job taking a supporting character from the first film and expanding his role to a feature-length adventure.
One of the last throwbacks to Jim Carrey’s massively successful series of hits during the 90s, 2008’s Yes Man sees Carrey playing a man who forces himself to cut the word “no” from his vocabulary, agreeing to anything and everything that comes his way for an entire year. It’s good enough, with Stoller’s script doing a lot of heavy lifting.
His second adult comedy with Segel, The Five-Year Engagement is very different than Forgetting Sarah Marshall but just as funny. This one’s more Apatow-esque than Forgetting Sarah Marshall, too, which means that it suffers from being a bit too long and a bit too loose even though it’s thoroughly enjoyable.
The sequel to Stoller and Segel’s hugely successful The Muppets drops Segel from both the script and the screen, shifting to a new star like Muppets movies so often do. Stiller handles the change well, taking on the script with fellow British scriptwriter James Bobin (responsible for such classics as Flight of the Concords and Da Ali G Show) and delivering something really worthwhile, even if it’s slightly more forgettable than its predecessor.
Like Captain Underpants and The Muppets, Storks shows that Stoller has no problem taking his grown-up sense of humor and finely tuning it to make it appropriate for younger audiences. Storks tackles “where do babies come from?” and turns it into a cute romp.
Based on the popular series of children’s books by David Pilkey, Stoller’s Captain Underpants is seemingly the perfect vehicle for him: vulgar humor aimed at kids. Naturally, his film is a genuinely good one.
When Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller first submitted their Muppets script to Disney, they rejected it because of how vulgar and mature the writers’ previous films were. Once they actually read it, though, they realized just how special and original it was. It remains Stoller’s best work, as well as one of the best Muppets movies ever.