Director: Judd Apatow
Cast: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, RZA, Aubrey Plaza, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow
RunTime: 2 hrs 26 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: M18 (Coarse language and sexual scenes)
Official Website: http://www.funnypeoplemovie.com/
Opening Day: 1 October 2009
Over the past few years, writer/director Judd Apatow ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Knocked Up") has shown that nothing—not even losing your virginity or the miracle of childbirth—is sacred. About his third film behind the camera, he says, "I'm trying to make a very serious movie that is twice as funny as my other movies. Wish me luck!" Apatow directs Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann in "Funny People," the story of a famous comedian who has a near-death experience.
Adam Sandler, Eric Bana, Jason Schwartzman, RZA and newcomer
Aubrey Plaza join a cast that reunites Judd Apatow with Seth
Rogen, Leslie Mann and Jonah Hill in their third comedy together.
getting their big break, comedians more often than not start
out on the stand-up comedy route. Shows like Last Comic Standing,
aiming to unearth stand-up talents have unearthed and the
likes of Russell Peters and Dave Chapelle have taken over.
However, it was not too long ago when the great comedic actors
like Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams and Adam Sandler did their
time on such gigs. Having made the transition to the silver
screen successfully, their comedy usually comes in the form
of a slapstick nature and rarely, the stand-up form. However,
here in Funny People, Judd Apatow has given Adam Sandler to
revisit his roots.
the movie is titled Funny People, this review must come with
the warning that if you are used to the Adam Sandler staple,
then this is definitely not anything near The Waterboy or
Little Nicky. It feels a lot more like Punch Drunk Love, his
attempt at drama but it is not entirely that either. Funny
People has its funny moments but this is also accompanied
by tender and emotional moments. After all, it is about the
one thing we all have coming for us, death.
Sandler plays George Simmons, a famous comedian and box office
star, in a role that mirrors very closely to that of Sandler’s
life. One day, Simmons learns that he has a terminal illness
and with death potentially reaching his doorstep anytime,
Simmons decides to hit the stand-up circuit once again and
he soon discovers Ira Wright (Seth Rogen), a young comedian
who has the potential but has not been able to garner the
laughs he wants. Simmons soon hires Wright to write his material
for him, even to the point of allowing the latter to open
for him at a high-profile gig of his. The friendship leads
to Simmons’ discovery that his fame does not match with
the number of friends he can depend on and finds great comfort
in befriending Wright.
the same time, the illness also gives Simmons a renewed vigour
and a story like this is not complete with the girl that got
away. The girl in question is Laura (Leslie Mann) and Simmons
ponders whether it is high time for him to obtain the catch
that he had missed. This is as far as this reviewer dares
go lest he divulges too much to give the movie away.
People gets the casting right with Adam Sandler as the leader
of the pack. He has been a consistent actor who, although,
is known for his comedy, has done his fair bit of drama as
well. In this movie, he gets the chance to do fantastic stand-up
comedy as well as channel the somber soul of a dying man.
Seth Rogen as Sandler’s right-hand man is a perfect
foil to Simmons. He is the young upstart and protégé,
full of naivety and enthusiasm and Simmons the seasoned performer,
devoid of formalities and full of lethargy. Leslie Mann does
indeed make us feel like she was the one who got away, always
lighting up the screen and providing support to Simmons though
reluctant at first. The rest of the cast is supported by Eric
Bana who plays Mann’s husband and could have had more
screen time, Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman who play Rogen’s
house buddies with their equally unusual antics.
why is this movie not as funny as everyone else’s movies?
Funny People refuses to follow a traditional storytelling
method or use a two or three-act story. Instead, the movie
flows pretty freely and things happen pretty messily just
like life perhaps. It is easy to be sympathetic towards the
different characters’ plights and situations without
once having to feel like the character is the villain or a
hero as the characters slowly start to feel like they could
be anyone of us or anyone we know. This also causes the movie
to run at its near two-and-a-half-hour runtime, meandering
at a slow but bumpy pace. Writer/Director Judd Apatow may
have enjoyed considerable success with his other flicks like
Knocked Up and The 40-Year Old Virgin but he may find that
fans of his previous works may not take too kindly to Funny
(Only a small portion of Sandler/Rogen/Apatow fans may develop
a taste for Funny People)
Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri