I went and watched "Funny People" the other day... partly because it is a Judd Apatow movie, and Judd does some funny stuff. Partly because I like Adam Sandler in smart films. Partly because I think Seth Rogen is really funny, and even funnier when you throw in Jonah Hill. And partly because I am crushin' on Leslie Mann.
When the movie was over, after the 2:30 running time, I wasn't sure if I thought the movie was great, or the movie was terrible. It was one of the few movies that had the McGriddle Effect--where you either loved it or hated it, but there is no in-between, sort of like a McDonald's McGriddle....
It took me a few days to piece it together, but here's the gist of the film...
George Simmons (Adam Sandler, who can be really great in the right semi-serious roles) is a popular actor and stand up comic who gets a diagnosis that he is dying, due to a rare blood disease. He ends up hiring fledgling stand up comic Ira (Seth Rogen) to be his assistant and right hand man, confidante and eventually, friend.
The trailer to the movie... the line "The ones where you try to kill Bruce Willis" slays me in the the trailer, but it not in the final cut of the film.
Ira leaps at the chance, as both of his other roommates are having much more success in their own careers, like Leo (Jonah Hill) as a writer and comic and Mark (Jason Scwartzman) as an actor on a terrible sitcom, "Yo Teach" and a bagger of hot chicks.
Two thirds of the film is the relationship between George and Ira, as George deals with his upcoming death, and finally, Laura, aka "The One that Got Away" (Leslie Mann) is introduced. She's moved on, she's successful in her own right, with two great kids and a hunky Austrailian husband Clarke (Eric Bana).
The last third of the film comes with George and Laura renewing their relationship, in the midst of a troubled marriage between she and Clarke. And Ira is in there too.
A couple of things about this film... first, I liked it. It took me a few days to determine whether I did or not, but I did. Secondly, this movie has more F-bombs and sexual terms than "District 9" (which rhymed their F-bombs with "duke", not "cluck") and Tarantino's "Rather Unimpressive Illegitimate Children" combined. I mean, alot. I mean, alot alot. If you pop this one in the DVD player, be prepared... though if you've seen "Knocked Up" and "The 40 Year-Old Virgin", you won't be surprised.
Okay, so you know when you have a group of friends in a room, and you are watching a movie that you liked, and you aren't sure they will like it, and so as the movie progresses, you kind of watch the crowd and have this sense of guilt if you feel like they aren't enjoying the movie--even if you didn't pick it out, but especially if you DID pick it out--and you are nervous because you wonder why they aren't laughing at the parts that you think they should laugh at, or you are a little irritated because they get distracted with a phone call or text or something, and when you try to pause it, they wave you off and mouth, "don't pause it, I'll be back" or something like that, and when they come back, you know they missed some of the best parts, but because they aren't interested in rewinding it or knowing what just happened, you know that they really aren't enjoying it and now you feel really guilty and stupid for making them watch it...
...that's how I'll feel if and when I watch "Funny People" in a room full of friends. Though I'm not sure if I'll watch it again.
Bottom line is... be committed to this film. Don't pop it in just as background noise. If you want to see it, watch it. You now know what to expect.
And Leslie Mann is glorious.
Ya know, she's no The Lovely Steph Leann (who is?) and she's not Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with, but she is quite striking
And to finish the post, I was going list my favorite Adam Sandler films, but really, looking at my list, its the same as everyone else's...
"Happy Gilmore"... The Bob Barker bit is one of the funniest cinema moments ever
"The Waterboy"... Just a classic guilty pleasure. Silly, stupid fun.
"Billy Madison"... whatever happened to Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, eh?
"The Wedding Singer"... the music makes this one hilarious
and if I had to pick a fifth one, I'd probably say "Bedtime Stories", just because it was fun. And yeah, I'll admit, I kinda dug "50 First Dates", mostly because I adore Drew Barrymore.
Beyond that? Really... most of his work has been... well, crap. Let's call a spade a spade, though not David Spade, because anything without Farley is crap too. "The Longest Yard" was a terrible remake... "Eight Crazy Nights" was a decent attempt at something different, but a terrible movie... "Zohan", "Click", "Little Nicky", "Mr. Deeds", "Anger Management"... he's done some pretty bad films.
Anyway, there's my thoughts on "Funny People" and in a sidebar, Adam Sandler. If you like Apatow films, and you want to make sure you see all of them, watch it. If you are expecting hilarity like "The 40 Year Old Virgin" then this is not the movie for you. And if you want to go more than 40 seconds without hearing a dirty word, then, this is DEFINITELY not the movie for you.