UN-Funny People

funny-people-poster

It is no news that Judd Apatow is one of the funniest bastards that the Hollywood comedy gods birthed. He is the king of bromance/gross out comedy and his films showcase how his cast can bond with movie-goers so easily even when they are talking about ball-sacks while smoking weed. Apatow has always granted audiences access to the soft yet neanderthal activities of male psyche without sacrificing the heart-warming charisma that guides his characters along their journey to fulfillment. Funny People takes everything that is lovable about this filmmaker’s past outings and turns it upside down. Instead of the characters being lovable messes they are annoying, wandering, and complaining shadows of the entities in Apatow’s previous films. Despite what the above poster may reflect, it seems no character in this film truly likes each other and it doesn’t help when there is virtually no on screen chemistry amongst any of the actors in this film.

The following is a somewhat loose outline of the plot of this film. Comedian and actor George Simmons (Adam Sandler) discovers that he has a serious blood disease that has an 8% chance of survival with experimental medicine. Trying to find some kind of happiness in his life, Simmons finds a friend/assistant in Ira (Seth Rogen) and thus commences a relationship between Sandler’s emo-ness and Rogen’s awkward nervousness. There is also some kind of subplot which evolves into the the real climax of this film which is a story of love lost between Simmons and his ex fiance Laura (Leslie Mann).

YAY:

  • Jonah Hill really tries to shine once again as the background funny guy. If your a big fan of Hill then you will surely like the times when he appears on screen to criticize a film or yell at one of the main characters.
  • The film opens in a way that makes you think this is a film about Adam Sandler and his career rather than the character of George Simmons. Essentially they are the same person on the surface which is a very intriguing idea that Apatow may have wanted to pursue in an early draft of the script. Because the first 15 minutes of the film is so interesting,  it is hard to comprehend what went wrong?

NAY:

  • It is soooo hard to like any of the characters in this film. Because Seth Rogen is so likeable from his roles in previous Apatow films, it  hurts to watch him be so nervous and awkward and, well, not funny. His character never shines on screen because he is cast too far into the depths of Sandler’s depressing role.
  • There are so many people horribly used in this picture. Jason Schwartzman’s character is only on screen to make Ira cry about how unsuccessful he is with comedy and women for about 10 minutes. RZA has a pretty entertaining conversation with Ira in the film but then disappears until the last 5 min of the film. Had Apatow cut the fat off of the script, time would not have been wasted on such menial characters.
  • Adam Sandler tries to give a performance that is both warm and completely sullen. Instead he comes across as a whiner who sees the solution to his problems right in front of him but then suffers from 50 First Dates’ short term memory loss and continues down the wrong path. It really hurts to watch this in a film that is over 2 hours. Which leads to…
  • The film is tooo goddamn long. What is up with this summer? Every single “big” movie this year has an unbearable running time. Funny People guides the audience along for the first hour but then becomes distracted by a sub-plot and then the movie stagnates in Laura’s house for about 45 minutes.

It is hard to think about not recommending a film by Judd Apatow. Granted not every director goes to bat with a perfect lifetime average but I can’t help but feel sorry for the guy for putting so much into a film that seemed destined to go down in flames even with all of his buddies backing him up and answering the call of duty. In the end, the film just has too much wrong with it to give it a good rating. 2 and 1/2 hours of penis jokes and a sulking Adam Sandler is just too lazy for such a great comedic mind. Oh and the title NEEDS to be changed.

Show Your Friends How Cool You Are