‘Funny People’ Is Not The Kind of Funny You’re Expecting

Funny People (2009)As I sit down to write this review I’m still not sure what I think about this movie.  It’s either kind of brilliant or kind of terrible.  Hopefully by the time I get to the end of this post I’ll figure it out.  I can say that of the 4 of us that watched it together, 1 hated it and 1 fell asleep.  I can also say that whether it was good or bad, it was LONG (2 hours and 20 minutes).

WARNING: Spoilers

Judd Apatow directs Adam Sandler, Seth Rogan, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana & Jonah Hill in what I’d describe as a “dark comedy”.  Sandler’s character George Simmons is an ultra successful (rich) comedian who’s told he’s got a very serious health problem that can only be possibly treated using experimental medicine.  With the specter of death looming, George hires budding comic Ira Wright (Rogan) to be an assistant and to help him write jokes for his stand up routines.

Of course, George and Ira start a friendship and we learn that George is a pretty miserable guy who still yearns for his lost love Laura (Mann) who’s married with children.  When she learns of his illness, she agrees to see him and let’s George know that even after all these years she still loves him.  As George pursues his long lost love he learns that his experimental medication has indeed worked and he no longer has any traces of the disease that was threatening his life.  With a new lease on life, he decides to continue pursuing his love and Ira does not agree.  They have words and their business relationship comes to an end.

In addition this main plot, we also get side plots of Ira’s roommates, Ira’s love life and Laura’s love life.  I was waiting for all of these sub plots to come together a la a Scoobie Do adventure but it never happened.  This unfortunately left me with a “That’s all?” feeling  after the end of the two and half hour flick even though the majority of those story lines had been concluded.

The dialogue in here (especially any time Sandler is on screen) is brilliant.  It’s definitely raunchy with quite a few dick jokes but for yours truly it was very entertaining and I found myself laughing quite a bit  (even though I was watching it with my wife and the in-laws).  That said, it’s certainly not for everyone.  If all you knew about this flick before watching it was that it was called Funny People and it was directed by Apatow you’d be severely let down because it’s very different than his other stuff.

So… I’ve come to the end.  Time to figure out what I think of this one.  I suppose on the scale of terrible to brilliant I’d put it slightly on the brilliant side just based on the dialogue.  I can say that the dialogue made me think of George Carlin many times which is a huge compliment.  If you’re hoping for 40 Year Old Virgin you’ll be let down but if you’re ready for a drama with some slick comedy thrown in then this is for you.

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