Saturday, August 1, 2009
Judd Apatow Continues to Bring Faith to Grown-Up Comedy with ‘Funny People’
By Michael Zema
‘Funny People’ is the latest from Judd Apatow, writer/director of ‘The 40-Year Old Virgin’ and ‘Knocked Up’ – two movies that others have tried hard to match the heart and humor of, but rarely come close.
Adam Sandler is George Simmons, a famous stand-up comedian who has just found out he has a blood disorder with little chance to make it through. Not having many people in his life, he makes a young comedian, Ira (Seth Rogen) his personal assistant and opening act, eventually letting him in on his secret. George begins to reevaluate what’s important to him, getting back in touch with the one who got away, Laura (Leslie Mann), who now has a life and family of her own.
‘Funny People’ walks the fine line of drama and comedy – no doubt due to Apatow’s witty writing style - never offering too much melodrama to bring the audience down, but enough to allow them to connect to the characters. The humor is definitely there, and makes this one of the most adult dirty-mouthed movies I’ve seen in recent memory.
Sandler does quite a good job and has several scenes where he can demonstrate that he has a good deal of range. Rogen does a fine job as well, and I found him to be more likeable in this movie than his past films -- maybe because I found his character relatable.
However, the standout to me was Leslie Mann, who was the leading lady here after many supporting roles in the past. She was funny, beautiful, and torn between the life she has now and the life she may have had with George.
Not everything about this movie was perfect. The second half of the movie feels much different than the first, making it seem like you’ve almost been dropped into a different film. However, because you care about the characters, you go with it, wondering where things might head.
Also, the movie is long, especially for a comedy, clocking in at approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes. This normally wouldn’t be a problem if the movie tied everything up, but I felt George didn’t quite come full circle at the end while other characters did.
If you are a fan of Apatow, I would certainly suggest ‘Funny People’. It’s by far Apatow’s most mature film to date and has a lot of heart and humor. What more can you ask for in an adult comedy?