SXSW Film Festival: 'Barry Munday' and the legend of Judy Greer

judy_greerImage Credit: Photopro/Landov The biggest delight of Day 2 of the Austin-based film festival was the world premiere of Barry Munday, director Chris D’Arienzo’s big-hearted debut about a rugby-wearing, boob-leering office drone who loses his testicles in a freak accident. Stay with me, people! Barry, played with great oafishness by Patrick Wilson, is a character straight out of the cult hit Office Space. He hits on women relentlessly, he loves a good Chili’s happy hour, he sings in the shower about how awesome he is. But in Wilson’s good hands, Barry is a recognizable and even endearing nitwit without being reduced to easy caricature. Barry loses his balls early on in the film, but soon finds out that a former one-night stand is knocked up with his kid. The woman with the bulging belly, whose face Barry can’t remember, is played by the marvelous Judy Greer.

The movie, which will draw inevitable comparisons to Knocked Up, is a surprisingly wistful and winning ode to growing up and finding one’s place in the world. What really made me want to stand up and cheer, though, was the sight of my beloved Greer getting a shot at material that required more from her than playing the plucky best friend. Here, Greer gets to play the woman at the heart of the story. Her Ginger Farley, a woman used to being overlooked by her family members and co-workers and men at large, is at once prickly and soulful. She gets to flex muscles — comedic and romantic — that have gone underutilized for too long. It’s always a treat to see a treasured character actor take on a starring role. In Barry Munday, a film in need of a worthy distributor, Greer proves once and for all that she deserves much, much more than stock supporting roles.

Who out there is a Judy Greer fan? What’s your favorite role of hers? (Kitty in Arrested Development? Back-stabbing Lucy in 13 Going on 30?) What other character actors would you love to see get a great starring role? Does Barry Munday look like a film for you?

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  • anon

    I’m happy to see Patrick Wilson in something gives him more than supporting screen time, too! Really looking forward to this.

    • DUSTIN

      what do you call hard candy, or little children for that matter? or lakeview terrace?

      • anon

        Loved HC and LC, Lakeview not so much. It just seems like a lot of what he’s done lately (e.g., Watchmen, Evening, upcoming movies) are 2nd lead roles. I was glad to see that wasn’t a permanent move, and that producers still think he can carry a movie. I would like to see him tackle a musical, since he has been so great on Broadway.

    • laurie

      I’ve loved Patrick Wilson ever since Angels in America, he was nearly unrecognizable in the preview. Crazy!

  • Jase

    OMG! I’m so glad she finally has a movie! How strange, i just thought of her yesterday for some reason. She’s my favorite “best friend” type actress. She was great in The Wedding Planner and 13 Going on 30.

    • Nick T

      Um, don’t forget Jawbreaker!!!

  • Kendra

    Her show Miss Guided on ABC was the best! Still mad that it was canceled.

    • Mason

      I loved that show! No one else watched it, but it is by far the funniest thing I have seen on TV in a while. I saw this movie yesterday and loved how she was finally able to showcase her great comedic skills onscreen.

      • PDawg

        No, it was seriously hilarious.

    • Raymond

      Miss Guided was the $#@! As usual, ABC did a poor job promoting something good.

      • E.

        Agreed, Miss Guided was a great show, and it’s too bad ABC couldn’t make it work… It would have been a great fit with their current hit Wednesday night line-up! Sigh.

  • ziggy

    Judy Greer is as funny and overlooked as Ana Ferris. Judy just guest starred on “Modern Family” as Denise, Phil’s former girlfriend. Her energy and physicality were hysterical. She delivers lines so surprisingly and memorably. I really like her!

  • s marie

    I love Judy Greer! I agree, it’s about time she gets to step out of the plucky best friend role. Can’t wait to see this!

  • Cory

    The premise makes me too uncomfortable, which is a shame since I love Greer and like Wilson.

  • Julia

    Love Judy Greer. She nearly store 13 Going on 30 from JG. Miss Guided would have been a great pairing with Modern Family (if only the timing had been better). She’s a total pro. Hope this launches her…

  • J Ruggs

    She was in a two-part “Two and 1/2 Men” episode that I loved her in. I will watch it anytime and everytime it is on.

  • Janitor

    What timing! I was flipping channels last night and 27 Dresses was on, and I immediately spotted “Kitty from Arrested Development”.
    This movie however couldn’t look more generic, complete with montage of the main character turning the corner (accompanied by an 80′s ballad, no less). All the best to Judy Greer though!

    • Matt

      Definately think of Kitty whenever I see her, she was hilarious. “Take a good look, cuz it’s the last time you’re ever gonna see these!”

  • Jim

    Judy Greer is so underrated. I hope this gives her a much-deserved boost.

  • gerritv

    Looks like it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine!! Please get a distributor!

  • Snsetblaze

    Judy Greer is currently doing one of the voices on Archer and she is hilarious.

    • sandradee

      oh my gosh i know! it’s amazing a show as sexist, racist and homophobic as Archer can still be so hilarious…and judy greer is a major reason why

  • petuniafromhell

    Can’t wait for this movie to come out!

  • JBC

    Love Judy on Archer! She plays an excellent crazy lady who can’t decide on her name, sleeps with anyone and everyone, and likes to be choked. . . . new fave show!

  • Laura W

    This looks cool; at least patrick wilson not a superhero aye?

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