This weekend we get Judd Apatow‘s new star-studded comedy Funny People with Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Eric Bana, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill, and Jason Schwartzman. The film makes fun of the people in it, as much as it makes fun of itself and is by far one of the smartest comedies in theaters right now.
Check out the good, the bad, and the plot below…
Some call him “seasoned,” others call him a “sell out,” either way comedian George Simmons’ (Sandler) life suddenly gets destroyed when he find out he has a terminal, inoperable disease. After he bombs a live performance he befriends an up and coming comedian (Seth Rogen), who he hires to be his right hand man through the ordeal. Needless to say the two set out on an adventure and get into a lot of hilarious trouble along the way.
- Adam Sandler: The best part about this film is that Sandler is not afraid to be completely un-funny and possibly make a complete fool of himself. Much like his character in the film, he’s force feed us mindless comedies for a big paychecks in the past, and we’re all a bit sick of it. Instead of relying on his ability to talk in funny voices and make stupid faces, he reverts back to the side of him that we saw in Punch-Drunk Love, a deeper more tormented side — only this time with the help of Judd Apatow his depression comes off as comedic.
- Clips of Stand-Up: Sometimes this can seem cheesy, other times it gives the film a more authentic feel, in the case of Funny People it’s the latter.
- Relationships: Relationships are not easy, people don’t always do the right thing, there is no such thing as the perfect person, and we don’t need a monologue to tell us any of these things. What makes relationships fun to watch is what makes them hard to live — the reality behind them. Once again Apatow has nailed the relationships in his film and the weird honesty in them is that makes them both humorous and interesting to watch.
- Mocking Cliches: By not denying that certain things are cliches you can use them to your advantage. The trick is, you have to be smart and there has to be a good reason for them. Apatow uses cliches sparingly and when he does, it’s as if he’s poking fun of himself and adding his own twist so that you don’t feel like you’re watching recycled bullshit (cough…The Ugly Truth…sorry) that you’ve seen before.
- The Acting: Although I already mentioned Sandler, the supporting cast was amazing as well. Leslie Mann, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman and even Eric Bana are all hilarious and overall do a great job with the film.
- It’s Not an “Easy” Comedy: Which is why some people might have issues with it. It’s not as laugh out loud funny as some of Apatow’s other work like, Superbad or as simple (and pointless) as something like The Proposal. It’s somewhere in between, which might be hard for some people to handle.
- Seth Rogen Needs to Branch Out: By having Sandler play some weird, twisted version of himself, I wanted to see something similar from Seth Rogen — and I didn’t. He’s no longer the up and comer, he’s one of the hottest male comedians at the moment. Not only that, but we’ve seen Rogen doing new stuff lately (Observe and Report), and in this film he takes a step back to the old Rogen — only thinner. To me it felt like he was only used because he’s the main star star in the Apatow universe, but not necessarily the right man for the role, even though he did a great job with it.
- It’s an Inside Joke: Many of the characters and the things they do are hilarious if you’re an aspiring comedian, film-maker, of somehow in “the industry.” I’m not sure if all the “industry” jokes are funny to anyone else.
This has been one of my favorite comedies this summer. The acting is great and it’s a bit smarter than some of it’s competition currently in theaters, especially if you work in entertainment.