Saturday, May 3, 2014

Funny People (2009)

Director: Judd Apatow

Writer: Judd Apatow

Composers: Michael Andrews, Jason Schwartzman

Staring: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, RZA, Aziz Ansari, Torsten Voges, Allan Wasserman, Wayne Federman, James Taylor, Andy Dick, Budd Friedman, Carol Leifer, Paul Reiser, George Wallace, Norm MacDonald, Dave Attell, Sarah Silverman, Maggie Siff, Eminem, Ray Romano, Jon Brion, Justin Long

More info: IMDb

Tagline: George Simmons was prepared to die, but then a funny thing happened.

Plot: When seasoned comedian George Simmons learns of his terminal, inoperable health condition, his desire to form a genuine friendship cause him to take a relatively green performer under his wing as his opening act.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

I'm a sucker for good stand-up comedy and comedians.  This pictures full of both and I loved it.  You get to see what Sarah Silverman's vagina looks like...

FINALLY, right?  I'm not a huge Sandler fan, as so many of his movies are juvenile comedies, but I think he's fantastic when he's more focused on making a good picture.  He gets better the closer he gets to drama.  The two and a half hour movie is almost precisely cut in half between George's (Sandler) diagnosis with a fatal disease and the aftermath with his rekindling an old romance with Laura (Mann).  At first it felt like it was getting long in the tooth but after a while I settled into it.  By the end I was completely satisfied.  I dig how Apatow makes pictures that do in atypical directions.  It makes the characters feel more realistic.  He takes comedy to another level you don't often see.  The relationship between George and Ira (Rogan) is great.  George clearly has problems dealing with people and it runs the gambit.  He can be charming and very funny one second and a total asshole the next.  You don't always know which way the wind is going to blow with this guy.

Rogen does a great job, too, and the supporting cast is wonderful.  The stand-up comedy scenes are funny but they're better in the context of the film.  There are a lot of laughs and there's a lot of heart in this picture.  Sandler was the perfect choice for the role and at the right age.  It wasn't surprising to learn after seeing it that Sandler and Apatow were roommates early on and this was written with him in mind.  It's a great flick that reminded me that it's been too long since I saw Sandler's excellent turn in PUNCH DRUNK LOVE (2002).  Has Sandler done other movies that approach the maturity of FUNNY PEOPLE?  I dig the guy but it's tough just seeing the trailers for stuff like JACK AND JILL (2011) et al.

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