Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Funny People (2009) - Review

This is the longest comedy in a long time. But really, the name of the movie and the cast is fairly misleading. This movie has Adam Sandler, Seth Rogan, and Jonah Hill...and yet it's a drama. Oh it has comedy in it (the bits with George's fake movies are all great; really reminiscent of some of Adam Sandler's awful movies in real life), but at it's heart, it's two different dramas put together. The first half of the movie is a cathartic life-affirming tale about George (Adam Sandler), a beloved comic dealing with cancer. The second half is more of a romance about George trying to reclaim his lost love.

Adam Sandler does a great job in the role; it's a shame he picks awful movies like Jack and Jill because he's a really solid dramatic actor. Seth Rogan is good too, he's more of the audience's eyes. He's actually way better in the straight man role like this, rather than playing the piggish guy like in Knocked Up. The rest of the cast does a good job, especially Jason Schwartzman as an egotistical actor on a bad sitcom called "Yo Teach". Most of the typical Judd Apatow group is here, although Jason Segal and Paul Rudd are sadly missing, though the latter is mentioned.

The characters are all well-done, and while there is a lot of stuff going on with every character, the movie segments everything off well enough so that nothing gets too overwhelming. The only real problem I have with the movie is that it's really long. It's 152 minutes, and that's a lot to sit through. But having said that, I'm not sure what I would cut out either, because it really is like two whole movies spliced together.

The direction is great; the movies that Apatow directs (this, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up) have a great deal more heart than most movies of their type. I'd say this is easily the best of those three movies, largely due to the stars giving really good performances and the healthy dose of drama that keeps the whole movie grounded. Give it a watch, I definitely recommend it.

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