Sunday, August 09, 2009
"Funny People" is the new film from Judd Apatow. If you go expecting another "40 Year Old Virgin" or "Knocked Up", you will be disappointed. Let me be clear, "Funny People" is not a comedy. It is a serious film about comedians. Now having said that, there are funny moments in the film but for the most part, this is Adam Sandler in "Punch Drunk Love" mode, angry and morose for most of the film.
I was happy to see a new maturity in the writing and the acting. In particular, Seth Rogan does a fine job as an struggling comic who ends up as Mr. Sandler's assistant and confidant. While the story is more serious, the humor is still juvenile and vulgar. Mr. Apatow wants it both ways, to up his game but not lose the fans that got him here in the first place.
The strangest thing is that halfway through "Funny People", there is a plot twist that spins it into a completely different movie that now puts the emphasis on Mr. Sandler's relationship with his lost love, played by Leslie Mann and her husband, played by Eric Bana. I sympathized with Mr. Rogan's character at this point, who just wants to go home rather than be stuck in a bad sitcom subplot.
Jason Schwartzman and Jonah Hill play Mr. Rogan's roommates and I honestly don't see the appeal of Mr. Hill. While Mr. Schwartzman brings some depth to his character, Mr. Hill brings nothing to the table. Of course, that may be attributed to the underwritten character but so far in his career, he's a one trick pony.
Ultimately, "Funny People" left me depressed.