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Cop Out (2010)
way better than you would think
the worst trailer of all time tanked this movie. those TV spots and theatrical trailers had everyone ready to annihilate this movie. myself included, and i'm a big kevin smith fan. but when i walked out of cop out, i realized that i had more than enjoyed the last two hours of my life. willis is always perfect, and tracy morgan makes the perfect yin to his yang. you know, kevin smith is not an action director. this is really his first attempt and i honestly would never have guessed it. the action was exciting, well cut, and always had a good payoff (unlike the ferrell bomb the other guys). now, the comedy could have been trimmed here and there. as funny as they are in the movie, i would've put a bit tighter of a leash on sean william scott and morgan. but it wasn't enough to make me stop laughing i'll put it that way. this is just another band wagon movie that people hate because they're told to hate it. and it's a shame.
Funny People (2009)
judd gets even closer
Judd apatow is Hollywood muscle at this point. he wants it, he gets it. Look at his last slew of films; drillbit taylor, stepbrothers, pineapple express, year one... this guy is the king of comedy right now, like him or not. and yet, he saves his directing talents for a select few projects.
first came 40 year old virgin. foul mouthed and well polished, virgin is a modern romantic comedy classic with big heart and big laughs (not to mention big box office). his follow up film was the quiet masterpiece, knocked up. what could've easily been a sitcom worthy stoner comedy was instead a beautiful comedy/drama about taking responsibility and finding the balance in life that makes adulthood work.
now, he gives us his third go around - funny people. with a premise this dramatic (adam sandler dying of a rare blood disease and finding the true beauty of life) it seemed like apatow was making a career turn that only a few brave and bold would ever dare. yet, unlike most, apatow has crossed genres and created another drama/comedy with as much film-making merit as it has big laughs. no one seems to quite get it right when it comes to this genre accept for apatow. he's so tuned in to this generation it's scary.
this film does bring the drama, it does bring the heart, and it does bring the humor to keep his core audience happy. with each film he grows up a little bit more. with each films he steps up his game visually as well. the beauty of this is, that the audience of casual movie goers ranging from their mid teens to mid life are growing with him whether they know it or not. it's easy to entertain. it's easy to move some one emotionally. it's not easy to do both. apatow, though? he makes it an art. you'll be laughing at potty humor, and at the same time you'll be watching a beautiful story about characters you might normally take for granted.
sure, eric bana is a little over the top, and a few emotional moments here and there aren't as strong as apatow probably thought they would be... but man... there's no arguing he's the best at what he does. you will laugh. you will be moved. you will not notice the running length of almost two and a half hours. you'll remember this film. it makes quite an impression.