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
Pete and Debbie are both about to turn 40, their kids hate each other, both of their businesses are failing, they're on the verge of losing their house, and their relationship is threatening to fall apart.
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
When James Taylor is finishing his last song at the MySpace function, you can see he is sitting on a stool, alone, on stage. When he finishes and stands up, his back-up singers from earlier have suddenly returned. See more »
"Funny People" is a realistic and stunning portrait of people all but completely ruined by life...
Judd Apatow's third directorial feature, "Funny People" starring Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann, is not really about the titled "Funny People", but more about how their lives have shaped them, and how they cope and try to change things.
Yes, the writer/director of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up" has turned in a decidedly more dramatic direction than his previous features, but if you are willing to go in with an open mind, the film does not disappoint. It is a touching, at times even heart-wrenchingly painful film, mainly because the realistic portrayal of its characters, and how corruptible they show the human condition as being.
The film begins with George Simmons (Sandler), a wildly popular comedian who has done everything from stand-up to cruddy movies (including "Mer-Man" and the baby-body-swapping epic "Re-Do"), and has become quite shallow and empty from fame and fortune. When he learns he is suffering from a rare form of Leukemia, and is told he may die, he begins to break down. Eventually, during a rather morbid stand-up routine, he encounters struggling comedian Ira Wright (Rogen), whom was his following act on stage that night.
Although insulted at first by Wright's act, which mimicked his depressing routine, Simmons eventually hires him as an assistant and co-writer for his material, even giving him the opportunity to open for him.
Their relationship as co-workers soon blooms into a pseudo-friendship, as Ira worships George, and George confides his secret with him. Here is where the movie gets interesting.
Up until this point, Ira has been stuck with his friends (Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman), two other comedians, but unlike them, his career isn't really going anywhere. Now, he has been presented with the opportunity of a lifetime, but because he is so starstruck by George, he doesn't necessarily recognize that the friendship is only one-way.
The rest of the movie is a heartfelt struggle as George tries to rebuild his life, despite his life-threatening illness, including coming back into contact with "the one who got away" (Leslie Mann in a fantastic performance), while Ira must come to terms with the fact that his new friend still has a lot of growing up to do.
The film is quite exquisitely written and directed, and the characters come off as perfectly real. It's very interesting to see a movie in the comedy genre that has the guts to say "No, sometimes people don't change immediately", as Apatow does. The second half of the movie has some amazing scenes where we see how Ira and George's lives might turn out, as we ponder whether or not George will learn from his predicament or not.
The performances all around are amazing. Sandler once again delivers a jaw-dropping dramatic role, as he had previously done in films such as the new classics "Punch Drunk Love" and "Reign Over Me." Rogen also shows he has some chops, delivering quite a stirring performance, and proving he isn't "just another funny guy." Mann has some amazing scenes herself, and in a way reminded me of people from my own past. Other supporting characters, including Hill, Shwartzman, Eric Bana as Mann's husband, Apatow's children Maude and Iris, Aubrey Plaza as Rogen's potential love interest and even the RZA as Chuck, Rogen's co-worker, all deliver strong performances.
The movie also has numerous comedian cameos, as people who know and love George, including Sarah Silverman, Norm MacDonald, Charles Fleisher, Ray Romano and Andy Dick, all portraying themselves, which gives the movie another breath of realism.
Apatow's growth as a filmmaker is also shown, as this is certainly his most "cinematic" movie to date. The composure of the shots is expert and the stirring musical taste really adds a lot to the film.
And while the movies does border on a two-and-a-half-hour running length, like Apatow's previous film, I didn't mind at all... it was certainly the quickest two-and-a-half-hours I've experiences in a long time.
Overall, the film is going to turn a lot of people off, with it's main focus being on drama, and not comedy, but if you are willing to open your mind, you will find an amazing tale to learn from and laugh with.
For me, a perfect 10 out of 10, one of the best movies of the year so far.
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