Funny People (Rating: R)
Cast: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman Written/Produced/Directed by Judd Apatow
Funny People does a lot of things. It officially welcomes the new crop of young movie comedians into Hollywood’s funny fraternity, it gives a peek into the supposed everyday life of a special breed of actor/celebrity (standup comedians) and humanizes them, and it gets a few laughs, even during its dark moments.
Adam Sandler “plays” George Simmons, a comedian at the top of his career. His success is pretty standard Hollywood stuff – top billing in a bunch of silly movies, a mansion with lots of brown-skinned servants, and the inability to walk ten paces without someone asking for an autograph and picture. I put “plays” in quotes because the character is no stretch for Sandler by any means.
Seth Rogen is Ira Wright, who is at the opposite end of his career. He is trying to get his sea legs as a stand up comedian while working part time at a deli and rooming with two slightly more successful friends (played by Jonah Hill & Jason Schwartzman).
Their lives intertwine due to the circumstances around Simmon’s health, and he takes Wright under his wing as both personal assistant and apprentice. While this may seem like the dream job for Ira, he quickly realizes he has a little more to deal with than just a spoiled celebrity.
Speaking of spoilers, it is difficult to describe the second half of the movie without one, but suffice it to say Simmons tries desperately to rekindle a romance with his past love, Laura (Leslie Mann), despite the fact she has created a life of her own with Aussie rugby enthusiast Clarke (Eric Bana).
One notable part of the movie comes as Simmons reconnects with his family and friends, culminating in a bar-room full of Hollywood stars. Apatow does a good job of transforming this scene full of heavyweights into a room of regular people who just happened to be famous millionaires and comedic geniuses. Cameos include Sarah Silverman, Ray Romano, and Marshal Mathers, who delivers, in a personal rant, the moral of this visual fable.
Overall, the movie is about 45 minutes too long, mostly to add some unnecessary scenes between the supporting characters. In essence it’s a movie and a half, but as the gaggle of “gossip girl” wannabes sitting behind me quickly indicated, that extra half a movie is a half too many.
There is some good comedy here, but not the same type of humor we have been spoiled with in Apatow’s hits like Superbad, The 40 Year Old Virgin, or Talladega Nights. There are lots of stand-up scenes, reminiscent of those Comedy Central shows with the montages of jokes. We also get to see a bit of a retrospective of Sandler and his real life video past. If you are a big fan of stand up, this is a movie you want to experience.
With that stated, it’s never gut-busting funny and sometimes seems more like a reality show than a movie. For this review, our movie must fit the criteria of whether it’s worth it as a busy dad to go to the theater vs. seeing it at home. I have to say this is a great movie for a quiet afternoon on the couch. It should be seen, but you can wait for video.
Your Daddy Time: Wasted of Worth It? Wasted 3/5 Stars
This film is rated R for language and crude sexual humor throughout, and some sexuality.
The Worth It/Wasted Rating System is for dads who need to know one thing- Is this movie WORTH IT to:
* Pack up the kids, bags, etc and trek to the theater – or
* Find a babysitter so Dad can have a date night – or
* Cash in brownie points with the Mrs. so he can go with his buddies
If it doesn’t fit these simple criteria, the movie gets the WASTED rating, which means – don’t waste the precious time you have, wait for video/cable when you can squeeze it between chores, work and sleep.