REVIEW: Funny People

31 07 2009

Funny People” is a solid effort by director/screenwriter Judd Apatow, but it falls just short of what it hopes to accomplish: a perfect blend of comedy and human drama that is both touching and amusing.  I walked out of the theater just thinking about all the potential it had, and I nailed the main factor as to why it paled in comparison to Apatow’s previous features, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and the uproarious “Knocked Up.”  It loses the sense of realism and relatability that Apatow nails so brilliantly.  The story concerns itself with comedians, one a superstar, one at the cusp of stardom, and several right underneath that cusp.  These people have a funny exterior, but when you peel back the layers, they are vulnerable, troubled, and quite dark.  It is harder to identify with these people because their problems are so detached from our own, as supposed to previous Apatow characters like the slacker, the virgin, the control freak, and many other “normal people.”

If you saw the first trailer for the movie, you know just about all there is to know about the plot.  George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is a lonely comedian diagnosed with a terrible disease and prepares himself for death, mainly by trying to form a true human relationship with another comedian, Ira Wright (Seth Rogen).  But when he appears to be cured, he tries to reclaim what he has lost in his life, mainly Laura (Leslie Mann), an old girlfriend who he let slip away.  Sprinkle in a ripped Australian husband for Laura (Eric Bana), a few of Ira’s friends trying to make it big (Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman), a quirky love interest for Ira (Aubrey Plaza), and a few celebrity cameos, and you have “Funny People” in essence. Read the rest of this entry »

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