182: Funny People

Funny People (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 146 minutes
Starring: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana
Director: Judd Apatow

I've been a fan of anything Apatow since Freaks & Geeks. I give credit to my brother for lending me the show during college and I've since been hooked on Seth Rogen, Jason Segal and the rest of the crew. So to say I was super stoked to see this movie is a bit of an understatement. I was even more excited to get to go to a free press screening on Thursday night for the movie.

Now all you've probably been hearing is how "dark" the subject matter is and how incredibly depressing and sad the tone of the movie is. But the dude has cancer (no big deal, right? I'm only missing three ribs...) and it's only a catalyst for more dick jokes and really just a reason for the plot to move forward. It sounds cheap, but it works. Don't get me wrong - there is a lot of heart and soul to Apatow's work and there are some touching scenes between Sandler and Leslie Mann who plays his ex-girlfriend. I just think reviews might be blowing the whole cancer plot out of proportion.

Adam Sandler plays pretty much himself - although I don't truly know how much of a jerk he is in real life. But his character, George Simmons, is truly a dick. He doesn't care too much about anybody and he's extremely unlikable throughout the first half of the movie - even after he finds out he might die any day. Despite all that, he is funny - as the movie implies - and all the jokes in his stand-up routines work. And you eventually find yourself wanting to root for George, this unlikable schlub whose managed to isolate himself from any form of love and care after he cheated on his girlfriend 12 some years ago.

The first half of the movie is all about Seth Rogen's character, Ira, who stumbles into the job of writing material for George. This is a bit of a different character for Rogen - he's not playing some slacker still trying to relive his high school and college days. Rather, he's a hard-working nerd who just wants to write. In getting the writing gig, he soon becomes more than just an assistant to George; a confidant that is entrusted with George's secret illness and later, a good friend.

This movie was hilarious - I was laughing a lot out loud and really enjoying all the banter between Sandler and Rogen. They're good together and it really is fun to see them trade jokes and work on them. I don't know why people think this movie is dark, because it's not. There are some serious parts, but they don't get in the way of all the fun being had in the movie. And the cameos are just wonderful - there are a ton of them but they don't overstay their welcome. Also, Eric Bana is on a role lately. He completely changed himself for Star Trek and now he's showing his comedic side. He's very funny as an Australian douchebag who's always trying to make sure his life is in feng shui. And in August he'll be trying to win the ladies over by starring in The Time Traveler's Wife (that trailer gets me every time). Kudos, Nero, kudos.

If you like anything Apatow has done, you won't be disappointed in Funny People. One of the funniest movies this year!

Rating: See It!

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