Funny People Review With Spoiler (4 of 5)

SPOILER WARNING: There’s one SEMI-BIG spoiler at the very end of this review (my last paragraph after the Harold Potter picture). It probably won’t change how you feel about the movie in knowing the spoiler, though. It’s not a movie that hinges upon one all-important plot device like the Sixth Sense. In any case… YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED….

funny-people-poster

Judd Apatow returns as a director with the usual Apatow checklist…

Wife Leslie Mann… Check.

Seth Rogan… Check.

Jonah Hill… Check.

A penis joke every 5 minutes (when things are gettin’ slow)…. Yeeeeaaaaahhhh. Check.

Frankly, I can do without the last one. Or at least Apatow could try going 10 minutes between each old/new penis or ball reference….

 That being said I thought this was the director’s best movie to date. I thought the 40 Year Old Virgin was a bit over-rated and had too few laughs. Knocked Up was a little better, but not what a lot of critics were making it out to be. This one was not much funnier than the other two, but it was funny enough.

Funny People is a movie about comedians and usually when Hollywood makes a movie about comedians, it’s almost always depressing. In the past movies like Punchline have had that built-in message that ‘comedians are people, too. They hurt on the inside. It’s hard work to make people laugh and usually all of the laughter is borne out of extreme pain’ (I hope you read that as sarcastically as I meant typing it) . This one walked the fine line between drama and comedy fairly well. It had some good laughs, and threw in some pretty good tearjerking moments without getting too heavy. Even when you knew those kinds of moments were coming, they worked pretty well and I think a lot of that falls on Adam Sandler.

From George Simmons' blockbuster 'Re-Do'...

From George Simmons' blockbuster 'Re-Do'...

Adam Sandler was the perfect person to play George Simmons, a successful  but lonely middle aged comedian who finds out that he may be dying from a rare disease similar to Leukemia. Sandler is an obvious choice for this and they use many real TV clips from Sandler’s own life to bolster the authenticity. Like a lot of good comedians, Sandler is fully capable of playing a serious part a la Punch Drunk Love (which is one of my favorite Adam Sandler movies).

Lovely AND talented....

Lovely AND talented....

Leslie Mann also dialed it down from her past Apatow roles having played whackier characters like the vomiting, drunken date from The 4o Year Old Virgin. In this one she plays Laura, the ‘one that got away’, who has married and had 2 kids after Sandler’s George cheats on on her. Clarke, her husband  of 12 years, is an Aussie played by Eric Bana who is supposed to have similar characteristics to Sandler’s character, but I wasn’t seeing it as far as that went. They’re almost like polar opposites in or out of character. When George is diagnosed withe the seemingly terminal illness, Laura comes back into his life and they begin to rekindle their old relationship (Mann plays a semi-successful former actress and Apatow uses many of her old TV clips and commercials to add authenticity to her character in the same way they do with Sandler… I think I remembered a few like the old Coke ad with King Kong).

Playing the nice guy... AGAIN.

Playing the nice guy... AGAIN. He has Michael Cera's range apparently.

All of the characters presented in the film have some major character flaws, but the movie’s heart is in the right place. Seth Rogan plays the nice guy in this one (of course… It’s Seth Rogan), a somewhat gullible struggling comedian named Ira who gets hired by George to write jokes for him and to be his personal assistant. Rogan also toned down his normal schtick for this one  and lost a few pounds, although I doubt it was because the part called for it. Ira was the most moralistic character in the movie and except for one instance that seemed a little out of character for him (involving his friend Leo), was the movie’s morale compass.

Still the best Bruce Banner...

Still the best Bruce Banner...

This was a great cast and there were many supporting actors that I wanted to see more of. Ira’s 2 friends Leo and Mark who were played by Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman weren’t in the movie nearly enough. I could also say the same for Bana’s character and even Ira’s work buddy Chuck (played by rapper RZA believe it or not). There were also tons of cameos, mostly by older comedians, that were fun. Some seemed a little forced, like they were just trying to get in as many forgotten comedians from the old MTV half Hour Comedy Hour show as they possibly good,but it was fun to see people like Charles Fleischer (who I last saw in Zodiac), Paul Reiser, George Wallace, and one of my personal favorites Norm McDonald. Rogan has a great line to Ray Romano (another comedian playing himself) that involves Marshall Mathers the third.

Should've been in Pineapple Express...

Should've been in Pineapple Express...

The movie seemed to be divided into 2 parts. At one point in the movie George and Ira go to visit Laura while her husband is away. It seems like it will be just another scene that stretched into what seemed to be half the film. There was a good bit that could have been pared down and made for a little better of a movie, I think, but who knows if it’s not actually edited down. Maybe Apatow felt that he needed everything that was presented, but it sure felt like there was too much of the slower stuff, but it is what it is. As it is with all movies. you get what’s presented.

I hope there is NOT a director's cut featuring this half of the movie.

I hope there is NOT a director's cut featuring this half of the movie.

There were some great subtle moments throughout. Some were of the unnecessarily blubbery kind and a few that were appropriately subtle. I absolutely loved the itunes playlist scene. They brilliantly worked in a product placement while managing to strike a profound emotional chord. I think I felt exactly what Sandler was conveying in that scene. There were plenty of funny moments also, like the cutesy Peanut Butter Game or when Schwartzman announces to Rogan that Ira has “10 days to act” or Mark will be forced to move.  That whole exchange was a highlight. Again, I  wish there had been more scenes with Mark and Leo. Don’t get me wrong they had signifigant parts; there just could have been more.

3Amigos

  Leo’s feelings about Harry Potter, kind of mirrored my own. His jokes about ‘Harold Potter’ and the sly way he delivered the joke about Hermione’s new maturity made me belly laugh. Speaking of which, I wish that I could get the fortitude to write a review about the new Harry Potter movie. I’m just at such a loss about caring about it, or just not ‘getting’ that whole franchise, has made it nearly impossible to start typing out anything about it… But I digress….

A somewhat creepy Harold with Hermione...

A somewhat creepy Harold with Hermione...

 

Overall I enjoyed Funny People. I think I’ve seen all of the elements of this movie in other movies. It was predictable and involved a ‘miracle cure’, but it didn’t detract from what I liked about the movie. The performances, especially Sandler’s, were all pretty good and the whole movie was very professionally handled. Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 (stars? Skulls? What? Still haven’t figured that out). It’s not a Summer blockbuster, but it’s worth seeing.

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4 Responses to “Funny People Review With Spoiler (4 of 5)”

  1. Crash! Landen Says:

    I find it never hurts to lower expectations when going to see a movie. I’m trying to REALLY bring my expectations for Avatar down to semi-normal levels…

  2. One of the best movies I have seen in a very long time. I wasn’t expecting much however Funny People is a clever and funny movie.

  3. Crash! Landen Says:

    Thanks! I appreciate the interest in my blog! AND I hope you enjoy(ed) the movie, also.

  4. woooooww very2 thanks to share 😛 i always came to visit ur blog

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