Movie Review: Funny People

Friday, August 07, 2009

What do you do when you are a box office superstar comedian but now find it difficult not having a sense of humor any more? And what if you are a struggling stand up comic and given a terrific opportunity to assist a star but must keep one very important secret out of the public?

This is essentially the plot for Funny People, starring Adam Sandler and Seth Rogan. If you are looking for a movie with a ton of non-stop comedy, this may, ironically, not be what you are looking for. Sure, the story focuses on a couple of comedians and their struggles, but this is more than a comedy. It is very much a drama.

Written and directed by Judd Apatow the audience is introduced to comedian George Simmons, played by Sandler. Simmons is told by a doctor that he has a life threatening disease and only had a certain amount of time to live. Simmons instantly goes from the easy going people person never afraid to greet his fans to a stoic melancholy man who does not know what to do with himself.

Through his career Simmons had achieved greatness as a comedian, but his personal life was not as glorious. Simmons finds himself trying to make amends with old friends, family, and an old flame as he tries to make things right before his untimely demise. Along the way Simmons makes a surprise appearance at a stand up comedy club, where he crosses paths with unknown comedian Ira Wright, played by Rogan. After their chance encounter at the club Simmons asks Wright to help him write some jokes and act as his assistant, possibly a ploy to find some companionship.

Personally I felt the movie went a little longer than it needed to but I do not want to seem like I am complaining. I found myself to enjoy the movie's lengthy plot with the help of numerous guest appearances. Look for guest spots from a number of famous comedians, including Ray Romano, Andy Dick, Paul Reiser, and Norm MacDonald. The guest list does not end there, with musicians James Taylor and Eminem making memorable appearances.

The movie may be titled Funny People but again, there is much more to it than jokes. You are not getting a Sandler from a movie like The Waterboy or Happy Gilmore. The truth is Sandler has matured over the years and this may be one of his better movies as far as acting goes.

Movie Info
Funny People from Universal Pictures
Director: Judd Apatow
Writer: Judd Apatow
Genre: Dramatic comedy
Rated: R
Running time: 146 minutes

Score of 1 to 10: 7.4

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