Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Funny People

Directed by Judd Apatow.
2009. Rated R, 153 minutes.
Adam Sandler
Seth Rogen
Leslie Mann
Eric Bana
Jonah Hill
Jason Schwartzman
Aubrey Plaza
Aziz Ansari
Torsten Voges

Justin Long

Plot: Comedian/movie star George Simmons (Sandler) hires still wet behind the ears comic Ira (Rogen) to write material for him. He’s also just found out he’s dying. Bromance ensues.

The Good: For director Apatow, this is pretty easily his most mature and complex work. The same can be said for Seth Rogen and possibly for Sandler, as well. Despite it being about comedians, it isn’t necessarily the funniest movie for any of them. Believe it, or not, that’s a good thing. Instead of spending time being outrageous and crass simply for the sake of it, we actually get character and relationship development. As a result, we’re more interested in what happens to them. Adam Sandler gives his bravest performance, parodying himself.

The Bad: Its way too long. As usual, Apatow is sorely in need of an independent thinking editor. Two and a half hour comedies tend to drag and this is no exception. There’s no doubt in my mind, it could get to its point about 30 minutes quicker. However, if the movie could use more of anything, it is George’s relationship with his own father. It’s talked about and built up as if it’s coming to some dramatic climax, but it never does.

The Ugly: Ira (Rogen) going ballistic on Daisy (Plaza) for cheating on him. You have to see it to understand.

Recommendation: Given the track records of nearly everyone involved, this is a movie bound to disappoint many and surprise others. If you’re looking for a gross-out comedy built on a foundation of four-letter words, look elsewhere. There are plenty of cuss words but they seem organic to the conversations, not just there for effect like in Apatow’s other work. It’s an involving piece of work that a lot of people just won’t like.

The Opposite View: Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

What the Internet Says: 6.8/10 on imdb.com (9/28/10), 68% on rottentomatoes.com, 60/100 on metacritic.com

MY SCORE: 7.5/10

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