Comments on watching and making films.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Funny People

Everybody's looking for the end of Judd Apatow. Ever since The 40 Year Old Virgin came out (and people rediscovered the genius of Freaks and Geeks), Apatow has been somewhat of a golden boy in Hollywood. The only problem is the law of diminishing returns in Tinseltown, meaning, the more stuff you slap your name on, the higher the possibility is that the stuff your slapping your name is going to be crap. In a way, that's one of the things that Funny People is about, but its also an attempt, by Apatow, to marry his brand of humor with more mature storytelling.

Adam Sandler plays George Simmons, a famous comedic actor who is dying from an unnamed "blood disease". He's taken a lot of things for granted in his life, and he decides that in his final days, he wants to take as much advantage of life as he can. When he makes a surprise visit to a comedy club to do some stand up, he meets Ira Wright, played by Seth Rogen, a struggling comedian who gets some laughs for making fun of George's rusty attempts at stand up. George hires Ira to write jokes for him, and the two bond with each other as Ira helps George prepare for his last days. Everything begins to fall apart, though, when George finds out that the experimental drug treatment he has been taking is actually working.

Sandler is a decent actor, pretty much always (its his choice of roles that tends to keep him down), and I really liked Rogen in this film because it felt like he was finally not playing the same old douche bag that he does in every Apatow movie that he's been in (which is most of them). The direction is pretty good, but if I had one complaint about this movie, its just that the story is just not up to par. The first half of the film is pretty good, but then, when George learns he's going to live, every part of the film becomes this uber-predictable jumble of who cares? I feel that if Apatow would have taken a bigger chance and either killed of George, or took him to a place that wasn't so obvious, maybe he would have had his perfect "mature" movie, but, unfortunately, he didn't. Funny People's biggest fault, for me, at least, is the fact that it is funny but it is also terribly predictable.

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