Sunday, August 02, 2009
Movie Reviews: FUNNY PEOPLE
Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann star in the story of a famous comedian who has a near-death experience... and what he does with a second chance. Director Judd Apatow addresses a question that hasn't before been touched with such trademark bluntness: If you had the chance to start all over again, would you be the same jerk you always were?
Cast: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann
Opened ..July 31, 2009..
Run time: 2 hr. 16 min.
Rated R for some sexuality, language and crude sexual humor
Director: Judd Apatow
Genres: Comedy Drama
Judd Apatow’s third directorial effort is very much like his previous works, filled with rauchy humor mixed with bromance and sentimentality. Apatow take a more slightly more serious tone here dealing with issues of mortality and regret about the choices you’ve made. It’s an intriguing mix and fairly engaging but it occasionally veers terribly close to Lifetime territory. Luckily the sharp comedic dialogue keeps the film entertaining even during its most A Christmas Carol moment. Apatow does occasionally find some authentically poignant moments mainly through some superb work by Sandler. I’ve never been a big fan of Sandler’s movies for the most part but he has shown dramatics chops as shown in Punch Drunk Love. Here, he again benefits from using restraint and he creates a wonderfully layered character that isn’t likeable for the duration of the movie but the audience does feel his loneliness and regret written all over his face. He also delivers plenty of funny lines with such ease that it makes me wonder why he’d stuck to his man child persona for so long. Working as a capable foil Seth Rogan delivers an equally impressive performance as Ira. Rogan gives his character a wide eyed innocence and palpable likeability sans any cynicism. It’s one of Rogan’s better performances in his career thus far and he really outshines everyone else when he’s onscreen. Jason Schwartzman is good fun as Rogan’s working actor roommate. Johan Hill is surprisingly underwhelming here as his lines feel forced when compared to the rest of the cast. Leslie Mann, who’s mostly relegated to the 2nd half of the film, is fun but her character isn’t sufficiently fleshed out enough to allow any depth in regards to her and George Simmons previous relationship. Eric Bana is incredibly funny as Mann’s philandering husband and he unleashes his natural Aussie accent with great effect. There are also cameos aplenty from the comedy and rap world which vary in terms of effect. Some bring some great laughs whiles other feel more like a visual pat on the back. Celebrity cameos are the only case of over indulgence here though. Apatow’s previously films have all been a tad overlong and Funny People is no different. Clocking in at nearly 2 and a half hours it’s a film that starts to test your endurance. Once the action moves to Laura’s home it bogs down and kind of just meanders aimlessly. While it’s not a huge drawback but it does kind of make you wonder what finale Apatow has in mind if any and strangely the ending comes rather abruptly. Regardless of it’s flaws Funny People is an interesting funny and fairly engaging film that shows a bit of maturation on Apatow as a film maker.