I think that it's pretty misleading to have a movie called "Funny People" and that stars Adam Sandler. Not a fan of his, never was and probably never will be. However, he was good in this. He wasn't funny, but he was good. The movie is carried on the backs of Seth Rogen and Writer/Director Judd Apatow's great script. This is kind of the last in a trilogy of Apatow's with "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up" kicking it off. Even though they don't have the same characters (which could be confusing since they all star the same people except the lead) they're a linear stream of conscientiousness for the road of life. Although "Virgin" was about a 40-year-old, it dealt with a subject that represented early adulthood. "Knocked Up" was about that pivotal moment in some lives that changes you for the rest of it. And "Funny People" is about the mortality that awaits all of us and how we deal with it. This one is probably the most serious of the three and ironically the least funny. That's not to say that there aren't some great scenes and hilarious lines. The one-hit-wonder, Jonah Hill, is there to provide most of that in the movie. The problem with the film is the problem that Apatow has with all his films, they're too damn long. There is always a part in the last act of his movies that just feels like it could be either cut completely or trimmed by about 20 minutes. In Apatow's defense, it's really hard to make a comedy that's over 2 and a half hours long still entertaining but I would say that in most cases, no comedy should ever try. The good news with this is that it's not a comedy...not really. I thought that it did a good job of mixing the funny and the sad, but never once feeling like it was forced. I think that probably comes from having a cast that has done this kind of movie so many times over. It also may come from Apatow himself. We've known for a while that he is a gifted writer that makes funny movies for adults that both men and women can enjoy together, but he's now also starting to really show his chops in the director's chair. This is probably his most visually impressive movies to date, which might have something to do with the story being so visceral. Of course Apatow does get a little annoying at times by allowing so many cameos in his movies, which now comes across as him just showing off how many famous people he can put in his films. Just like the plot of the story, there's good news and bad news with "Funny People." Good News: It's an amusing comedy that's not afraid to show you a dark and dramatic look at decisions that come from people who are facing death. Bad News: It could've done that in a funnier, more dramatic and shorter way.
Funny People (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: B