Saturday, August 08, 2009

Funny People

Time is just flying by, I just realized I saw this movie last week and I haven't had a chance to write this review. Every time I was about to sit down and write it something would happen; an upset baby, guests arriving, the Yankees distracting me. I wanted to see this movie because of two particular things. One, I really have enjoyed all of Judd Apatow's movies, granted there are only a few that he has actually directed, but needless to say, I enjoyed them all. Two, I was curious to see how he would transition from dick and fart jokes to more serious fare.George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is at the top of his game. He is a popular stand-up comic gone Hollywood. For all intents and purposes George Simmons is Adam Sandler sans wife and children. He lives in a giant house, can get any woman he wants, has major blockbusters under his belt including a stupid looking flick called Merman. (Sounds like Sandler is comfortable lampooning some of his own shitty films.) All of this is disrupted when he discovers he has a rare blood disease. He tries to do a stand-up gig afterward and bombs horribly. Ira (Seth Rogan), who has to go on after the star, decides to have some fun at his expense. Ira's set isn't great but George sees some potential in Ira and he offers him a job writing jokes for him.The first hour and half or so was really great. The dynamic between George and Ira is interesting. George takes Ira under his wing but he's a bit of child. Ira on the other hand appears a bit naive but he's responsible and he ends up taking care of George throughout his illness. Ira finally gets to one-up his more successful roommates, Leo (Jonah Hill) and Mark (Jason Schwartzman). The duo are pretty hilarious even though they don't get enough screen time. I have to say I truly admire people who can do this for a living. It's got to be one of the scariest things a person can do, emotionally, that is. You have to put yourself out there and hope to God that the audience thinks you're funny. You'd have to have a pretty thick skin to be able to do something like that night after night. Which is one of the great elements of this film. They kind of show that aspect. It's also great to see other familiar comics in cameos. Was that Paul Reiser?Apatow has to be the only comedy writer/director that has been so successful despite his fondness for dragging out his films. And Funny People is no exception. Which is why it might not have been as effective this time. At some point in the movie Apatow decides to segway into romantic comedy land as George decides to pursue the girl that got away. He drags Ira with him as he tries to bond with his old girlfriend, Laura (Leslie Mann) and her two girls. The problem is she's married to Clarke (Eric Bana), who comes home early from a business trip to discover what his wife has been up to. It kind of make me dislike George and Laura and I'm not sure if that was the point of this trip. I really like Leslie Mann and I think she's a good actress but what the hell was she doing in this? I know she's married to Judd Apatow but it really felt like that's why she was in this movie. Don't get me wrong, it was still funny, but it felt awkward and out of place. I wish they had just stuck to the mentor/mentee dynamic instead of veering off into this. I won't reveal what happens but it seemed kind of pointless to me.Don't get me wrong it's a good solid movie. I'll probably buy it on DVD, but it certainly lost a bucket due to that strange trip to rekindle a romance with the ex-girlfriend. The performances are really great, and most importantly it's pretty damn funny.Grade: 3 Buckets

No comments: