When seasoned comedian George Simmons learns of his terminal, inoperable health condition, his desire to form a genuine friendship causes him to take a relatively green performer under his wing as his opening act.
A man who lost his family in the September 11 attack on New York City runs into his old college roommate. Rekindling the friendship is the one thing that appears able to help the man recover from his grief.
Jada Pinkett Smith
George is a very successful stand up comedian who learns that he has an untreatable blood disorder and is given less than a year to live. Ira is a struggling up-and-coming stand up comedian who works at a deli and has yet to figure out his onstage persona. One night, these two perform at the same club and George takes notice of Ira. George hires Ira to be his semi-personal assistant as well as his friend. Written by
I'll start by saying that I am a Judd Apatow fan. I've loved most of his movies, including the two previous movies he's directed, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. I've seen each many times, and they are two of my favorite comedies.
This, however, didn't prepare me for his newest, Funny People. Apatow has become well known for his sweet, adult comedies, but this movie is very different from his others. I would almost call it a "funny drama." This has it's pros and cons. I don't think I laughed out loud as much as in either of the other two films, but what I got in return, is an actual good movie, that's actually ABOUT something.
I liked Adam Sandler before I knew what a good movie was, as I grew up watching his lighter movies, like Waterboy, Happy Gilmore, etc. I've seen him so much that he ceased becoming an actor to me and actually reached a point of self-parody. His role as comedian George Simmons is perfect for him, because he's basically playing himself, to a point. He gives the performance of his life, even better than Punch-Drunk- Love. His portrayal is cold and confused, angry and hurt. It's what a comedian might truly be like when he's not on stage. He plays it perfectly, providing a likable character while at the same time showing us there might not be so much to like. He's the best part of this movie, and that's saying something
The supporting cast is great, as usual. Seth Rogan actually plays a different character than his other movies as Ira, who acts as a great foil to George Simmons. Jason Schwartzman and Jonah Hill provide some great comedic backup, including their hilarious fictional sitcom "Yo, Teach". In fact, a lot of the laugh out loud comedy from the film stems from the many supporting performances and cameos (My favorites being Marshall Mathers and James Taylor). Eric Bana is very funny, and Leslie Mann gives an impressive performance as well.
Funny People's only real problem is it's ambition, and that's definitely the best problem to have. It's nearly two and a half hours, and while I didn't have a problem with the length, it obviously had to end when it did, as there aren't many people who would want to sit through a three hour comedy. I wish it could have ran even longer, as some subplots weren't fleshed out nearly enough. I really liked the romance between Ira and Daisy (Played by Aubrey Plaza, who is sweet and funny in every scene she's in), but it was rushed, and in the end cut short, which is a shame, because it's one of the best parts of the movie.
Above all, this is a real movie. It's success doesn't just depend on the amount of laughs it receives. Thanks to Sandler and a thought provoking story, this is more than just another raunchy-sweet comedy. The movie will definitely divide people more than the others, and I'm not sure it will find as big of an audience. Judd Apatow has improved tremendously with each movie he's directed, and, despite his detractors, he's going to be the king of the comedy movie for a long, long time.
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