Near the end of the essay, Scott made an interesting point about womens' roles in the decade's comedies:
... There is something profoundly regressive in the vision of a civilization stripped down to an essentially violent core, so it is perhaps not surprising that regression of another kind provided the movies of the era with their richest vein of humor. Devotion to playthings and playmates, a fascination with bodily fluids and a queasy obsession with sex — these were what defined a movie hero not preoccupied with killing bad guys. Traditional romances and sex farces were supplanted by comedies of arrested male development, defensive glorifications of the right of boys to be boys, occasionally informed by the serious question of what it might mean to be a man.
Some of these — “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Step Brothers,” “Nacho Libre” — were among the funniest movies of the decade, but like the geek-revenge dramas and the child-friendly fantasies with which they shared box-office ascendancy, they pushed women to the edge of the frame. Movies seem to be, increasingly, for and about men and (mostly male) kids, with adult women in the marginal roles of wives and mothers, there to be avenged, resented or run to when things get too scary. ...
The NYT illustration above is credited to Cristiana Couceiro.