Funny People | Judd Appatow, 2009
I liked Judd Appatow’s previous directorial efforts, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up although I wasn’t as enamored with them as most people (I still like the latter quite a bit though). I also liked his work as a producer in movies like Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marhsall, and Anchorman, all of them being superior to the movies he directed. And that’s the problem with Funny People, he should not have directed it. He is a brilliant writer (although he can get carried away, as this movie shows), but not a very good director
Funny People is about two comedians. One is George Simmons (Adam Sandler) a famous actor and comedian whose career is at the point where he only makes silly but popular movies (just like Sandler). One day he learns he has a rare form of Leukemia and that there is nothing he can do, except try experimental medicine. Then there is Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) a young stand-up comedian that is trying to make it big, but can’t catch a break. One day, Simmons sees Wright’s act and hires him to be his assistant and write jokes for him. Then the movie progresses and stuff happens and the final 45 minutes of the movie are spent with Sandler trying to reconnect with Laura (Leslie Mann) the only woman that he ever loved, who is now married and has two kids.
The biggest problem with Funny People is that it goes on for too long. The first part, with the trials that Simmons goes through and Wright trying to become famous, is great and funny. But after that ends and we move on to the part involving Laura, everything slows down. It pains me to say this since Leslie Mann was so great, and Eric Banna was fun to watch, but that last part was completely unnecessary.
As I said, the first part is pretty great. Sandler gives a rather good performance, as well as Seth Rogen. The writing is brilliant, and I got a good belly laugh a couple of times. I did find the comedian cameos rather distractin, and the two minutes with Eminem were not very good. That’s what I meant when I said that Appatow can get too carried away with his writing.
The last part of the movie sink the movie too much for me to give it a possitive rating. As it stands, Funny People is a failure, but an interesting one.