in Review

Everybody Loves a Clown

Funny People

(Contains Some Spoilers)
An unusually busy week for me, which is why I was only able to post one other time this week. Luckily, I had a brief window of time to go check out Judd Apatow’s latest comedy epic (by which I mean it’s 140 minute length). Teaming up longtime pal Adam Sandler with the rest of the Apatow gang, I’d expected Funny People to rank somewhere among the best of the Apatow related productions but in the end I believe it fell somewhat short.

I’ll try not to bore you with any kind a lengthy synopsis but let me just set it up as a jumping off point. As probably everyone who reads this blog already knows, Funny People is more or less a buddy pic about the relationship between an aspiring comic Ira Wright (Seth Rogen), a famous yet lonely and ailing comic named George Simmons (Adam Sandler) and the various “funny” people that surround them.

I loved the set up here and for about the first 45 minutes or so, I was deeply engaged. On one side you have Ira’s mundane and awkward existence living with two very wacky roommates in the cocky Mark (Jason Schartzman) an actor on awful sitcom and fellow comic Leo (Played by Jonah Hill in top form) and then you have the world of George Simmons. A cynical comic turned actor who although immensely successful has become isolated due to his bitter and self centered personality. Brought together at a comedy gig this comedy really soars as their relationship unfolds.

So what changed for me after that? I guess I consider this my spoiler, it was the moment that George’s creepy European doctor declared “I think we’ve beaten this”… At that point I felt that the movie had lost something. Sure, there was an occasional mention of someone saying “It could come back.” but I didn’t really believe that. They seemed to make it quite apparent in their revealing that his chance of survival far exceeded his chance of death…. And as time went by, I really missed that compelling element, even if it was a depressing subject for a comedy (or borderline drama or dramedy or whatever) I felt it should of been left far more ambiguous and more towards the final act.

What follows is still entertaining, it’s still funny, it’s still a reasonably good movie but where is Judd trying to take this story? The film almost seems to become two movies combined as George’s former love Laura (Leslie Mann) becomes the focus of the film. Sure it’s still entertaining but too much time is spent here and I could swear it takes like over an hour to get to that point. Maybe if Judd would actually edit his movies down they’d have a better rhythm, cause after awhile this starts to get sloppy. So I wasn’t surprised when the film didn’t have much of an ending. It was fine but I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to take away from this experience and feel that although Judd is very good with his comedic writing, his storytelling abilities are lacking.

With that out of the way I still liked a great deal of this movie. Just about everyone in the cast gives stellar performances especially the always surprising Adam Sandler. The cameos were a lot of fun as well but probably could of been trimmed back a little (Eminem comes to mind and as much as everyone likes him, Ray Romano didn’t seem necessary either.) But how about all the movies within the movie? “Re-Do”, “Merman” , that movie where Adam Sandler was in an eating contest? (Probably my favorite part of the movie.) That was just hilarious and this movie had no shortage of great jokes and bits.

You know what else I liked about Funny People? Seth Rogen… I’ve been getting the vibe that it’s become cool to not like Seth Rogen anymore. Some people seem to get fed up with the fact that he’s everywhere and are getting tired of his “shtick” but that I don’t understand. I don’t think he ever fails to deliver and Funny People is probably one of his best and most sincere performances to date. He’s likable, relatable and always well, funny… What more could you want? Just thought I’d address all that.

Sorry to make you read so much but I had a lot on my mind. ( I’m gonna go ahead and be a little generous with my rating for now) This was probably the last big summer movie for me so now it’s all about waiting for the fall. I guess there’s still District 9 and Inglorious Basterds but I’m not really that excited for those yet, we’ll see what happens as the days go by, Otteni out.


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