Reviews

Funny People

4

Judd Apatow’s terminal illness laffer…

Let’s get serious for a second: Judd Apatow is an artist, and not just because there’s an art to telling a great dick joke.

He likes to examine the big things in life. Popping that cherry (The 40-Year-Old Virgin). Love, kids (Knocked Up).

And now, in Funny People, only his third directorial outing… death. Yes, death, Apatow taking 145 minutes to explore how Adam Sandler’s filthy-famous Hollywood star George Simmons copes with terminal illness. Bummer.

Wait, come back… there’s two things you need to know. One, unlike most Please Take Me Seriously (vanity) projects, Funny People is smart, emotional and truthful; it feels loose and lived in, entirely free of pomposity. Two, it boasts great dick jokes.

The plot, such as it is, sees silver-screen funny man George tentatively return to stand-up when he’s diagnosed with leukaemia. Suddenly aware he has no friends or confidantes, George enlists struggling comic Ira (a slimmed-down, dialled-down Seth Rogen, impressive) to pen gags and provide emotional support.

Ira lives with fellow comic wannabe Leo (Jonah Hill) and sitcom star Mark (Jason Schwartzman), thus allowing Apatow to bring the frat gags and to present pretty much the entire span of the comedy universe.

Drawing from his own life, Apatow further blurs fact/ fiction boundaries by casting his own wife and kids in key roles and starting the movie with video footage of old pal Sandler goofing around in college. Tricksy? Smug? Not a bit – all this sleight-of-hand shuffling lends real perception to the jokes, raw poignancy to the soul-searching.

And it doesn’t end there, with Sandler bravely riffing on his real-life screen persona (to put the oxy into moron) by having George star in formulaic, imbecilic comedies. Is Mer-man really any worse than Little Nicky?

Ambitious, magnificent, flawed (a misguided third act features an amusing-but-incongruously-broad turn from Eric Bana), Funny People is Apatow’s best yet, an artistic triumph worthy of awards. Let’s just hope the Academy don’t gag on those dick jokes...

Verdict:

A comedy-drama full of beauty and ugliness, profundity and profanity. Eventually loses its way but, for at least 100 minutes, it’s some sort of masterpiece.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • vanillasky

      Aug 29th 2009, 13:29

      1

      This has to be the second worst film I have seen this year after The Spirit. The only good film I have seen Sandler in is Punch Drunk Love. He is the most over-rated actor ever and for the film to be called some sort of masterpiece is a joke. The best part in this film was James Taylor singing Carolina In My Mind. Sandler and Rogen just went through the film swearing all the time which is as funny as pulling teeth.

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    • johnmoorefan

      Aug 30th 2009, 17:41

      4

      Falls apart at the end, but Funny People is up to that point a wonderfully touching and often funny Hollywood product. In relation to Sandler - he nails it. A definite must see coming off a disappointing summer

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    • johnmoorefan

      Aug 30th 2009, 17:42

      4

      Really enjoyable, even if the ending is messy. Sandler nails the leading part and for the most part this is touching and funny stuff. A must see coming off the disappointing 2009 summer

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    • tommyflemin

      Sep 8th 2009, 13:10

      4

      I saw this yesterday and I'm in agreement with Total Film and johnmoorefan The film i thought was brilliant poigniant and touching and really funny as well and I think it pulls you along but sadly the end is a bit messy and not aas clean cut as the rest but nonetheless a fantastic film

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    • MattMaytum

      Sep 9th 2009, 12:27

      4

      Jamie Graham's review is spot-on, I was slightly worried about this as it arrived over here so quietly, but if anything that probably aided my enjoyment as I went in not expecting a great deal and was very pleasantly surprised. One of those rare Adam Sandler films I actually found bearable.

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    • thedarkknight

      Sep 9th 2009, 22:18

      4

      Not as funny as I was hoping it would be, but it is incredibly charming and the bits that made me laugh, made me laugh hard. Loved it.

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    • zakmccormack

      Jan 30th 2010, 14:59

      4

      Funny People isn't funny as the title suggests. It is however a very moving tale, although it does lose its way in certain parts it is a very good movie that I would certainly recommend seeing.

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    • OHgingerbread

      Oct 25th 2010, 14:40

      3

      I adored Judd Apatow's previous two films, however this was a bit of a disappointment. Seth Rogen is naturally hilarious and it's interesting to see Adam Sandler attempt some dramatic acting but I feel the ending is a let down. I felt Eric Bana was annoying and unfunny but Apatow's kids are delightful!

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      3

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      4

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      4

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