Funny People Review

Posted: November 19, 2009 in Review
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Funny People Review

And so the Seth Rogan-Judd Apatow comedy machine rolls on, resulting in this – Apatow’s third writer-director feature.

The likes of overly-shmaltzy-but-just-about-amusing-enough-to-get-away-with-it The 40 Year-Old Virgin and the downright hilarious and loveable Knocked Up really should have prepared us more for this. While Apatow may know some of the hottest names in comedy, he’s actually a very poor comedy writer, leaving it entirely up to the talents of his actors and their improv as to whether or not a film is funny. With his previous two films, the cast had a great variety of material to work with. This time, not so much.


When world famous actor George Simmons (Adam Sandler playing something eerily like himself) is told he might only have months to live, he sets out determined to enjoy what time he has, recruiting promising young stand up artist Ira Wright (Seth Rogan) to write him new material and work for him. As the two travel the country together, Ira comes to believe himself as more than just an employee to Simmons, while George himself is trying to patch up the broken heart of the only woman he ever loved, Laura (Leslie Mann), who is now married.

It’s not a promising situation for any comedy, much less one that proclaims itself to be hilarious in its own title, when one of the opening scenes is a man being told he’s going to die. Make no mistake about it – this film is a tragedy starring comedians.

Halfway through the film, the gear shifts with an audible clunk as Simmons is cured of his disease, changing the tone of the film completely and losing what little comedy there was in it in the first place. More annoyingly, several scenes are laced into the film for the sole purpose of showing off Judd Apatow’s family. Wife Leslie Mann wears tight jeans for Adam Sandler to comment on how hot she looks and one of his daughters sings a song in a home movie – it’s like he’s sitting next to you asking you what you think.


Most criminally of all, the always wonderful Jonah Hill barely features at all and when he is on screen it’s so pointless and unnecessary you might find yourself wondering why he was even put in there in the first place. Also, most of the genuinely funny lines from the trailer have been replaced with less amusing ones in the final film, making this the most blatant case of false advertising since Alone in the Dark was billed as a horror.

Granted, it is a sweet story told by great actors and Adam Sandler has never been on better form. But when your hot comedic talents are outshined by Ray Romano and Eminem bickering at each other across a crowded bar, you know you have problems. Amusing in places, but don’t expect anything worthy of the hype. Maybe next time the Rogan-Apatow comedy machine rolls into town, they could remember to pack some laughs along with the emotion.

Two stars

  1. cmrok93 says:

    I still think the movie was good, it just needed about 20-30 minutes to be shed off, and it probably would have been great.

  2. ad4m22 says:

    Agreed, sir. At two and a half hours, this was far too long and carried far too much weight.

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