Seth Rogen has always had a knack for playing slackers – as ‘Cal’ in The 40 Year Old Virgin, ‘Ben’ in Knocked Up, or ‘Dale’ in Pineapple Express – so it’s only fitting that for the 28-year-old Canadian’s next role he will go one step further to play a dead slacker.
Dreamworks Animation apparently also sees the potential for Rogen’s instinctive gift for slacking, and has signed the actor as the lead in their upcoming 3D animated comedy Boo U, which centers on a ghost (Rogen) who is bad at his job (too much pot, if Rogen’s other characters are any indication) and has to go back to ghost school (boo-niversity?) to refine his spookiness.
That sounds like a pretty solid premise for a Dreamworks film, even if it is somewhat derivative of Pixar’s Monsters Inc. I’m likewise ambivalent about the merits of screenwriter Jon Vitti, who has worked on winners like The Simpsons and King of the Hill, but has also lent his talent to more dubious projects like Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. Director Tony Leondis is even less a mixed bag: his only two credits are the Weinstein Company’s forgettable 2008 animated comedy Igor (don’t worry, I don’t remember it either) and the direct-to-video sequel Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch. That’s not particularly promising.
What is promising is the addition of Rogen himself, who has a fair amount of experience with voice work, having played a number of animated roles over the years, including the blob ‘B.O.B.’ in Monsters vs. Aliens, the martial-arts trained ‘Mantis’ in Kung Fu Panda, and ‘Morton’ in Horton Hears a Who.
In any case, now that we’ve heard about the development of Boo U, we can safely forget about it for a while: the 3D animated pic isn’t expected to hit theaters until the summer of 2012. There’s still plenty of time to find a new director, Dreamworks!