I haven't seen the numbers myself, but according to David Poland, Wedding Crashers has just surpassed There's Something About Mary as the second highest grossing R-rated comedy ever, and will soon outpace Pretty Woman, the current top grosser in that category. This is interesting news for a lot of reasons, but this is what I'm stuck on: records like this are obviously made to be broken, and yet, these two records have respectively stood for seven and 15 years. I think it's also safe to say that both Pretty and Mary were significant cultural forces; they rippled the zeitgeist upon release, and they've both held up pretty well. You *might* even call each a classic on its own terms.

That said, if the R-rated comedy is it's own genre – and I'm not entirely convinced that it is – then we've come a long, long way to get from Pretty Woman to Wedding Crashers, and if there's a halfway point between the two, wouldn't There's Something About Mary be precisely it? These movies strike me as three of the best possible examples of What Hollywood Does Well – and clearly, if box office is any indication, the people agree with me. Just the fact of Wedding Crashers' phenomenal success this summer blows apart about half of the most oft bandied dialectical strings of the summer slump, and so it just seems logical to try to figure out why it connected with audiences.  Even though it probably shouldn't, a movie like The Wedding Crashers drops into mass culture and strikes the audience as something vibrant and vital and new. Meanwhile, even I could barely sit through the trailers for Kingdom of Heaven of Cinderella Man – even without seeing those movies, I feel like I've seen so many other movies that do exactly what those movies do, that I've essentially already seen those movies. The more I think about it, the more it seems clear to me: the adult-oriented comedy is not only the only genre that Hollywood is doing well right now – it's the genre of Hollywood film that has most significantly developed over the past decade and a half, to the point where it actually feels like it's been resurrected.

What do you think? Should the studios pin all their hopes on the adult-themed comedy? Or are all these "sleeper hits" – not just Crashers, but going back season by season to Dodgeball, Old School, and pretty much every other Vince Vaughn movie in recent memory – really just part of a series of flukes?