Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Funny People, 2009
Dir: Judd Apatow
August 11, 2009
I'm glad that Judd Apatow made this movie. I'm glad he's working on a comedic American aesthetic that is based on morals yet still gets caught up in the vulgar culture that we all must deal with. I'm glad this film wasn't like 40 Year Old Virgin (2005) or Knocked Up (2007). However, the film was too long (and I rarely say that), and despite the mentoring relationship that George (Adam Sandler, who is really quite good) and Ira (Seth Rogen) forge by the end, I'm not really quite sure what the film was supposed to be about, and what I was supposed to take away from it.
If the the film was about how hard it is to make it as a comic without help and how much having a mentor really benefits you, then maybe Ira should've been the main character. As it is, with George being in the spotlight, the themes of redemption and second chances get lost in a ending which doesn't really correlate with all of the problems that George had. George has everything as a successful comedian/movie star, but when he finds out that he is terminally ill, he tries to turn his life around. He starts doing stand-up again, and at a L.A. comedy club he meets Ira, a struggling young comic looking for a break. George lets Ira write jokes for him and then lets him become his assistant, and their strange friendship starts to grow. Over time, George realizes that he is better, and a relationship that he rekindled with an ex-girlfriend (Leslie Mann) starts to progress despite her having a wonky Australian husband (Eric Bana, still mostly sucking).
There were so many superfluous things in this film that just didn't need to be in it. All of Ira's roommates, despite having some of the funniest moments in the film, could have been left out, along with Ira's love interest. The whole feel of the film dragging on too long is kind of like a bad stand-up routine that also doesn't know when to quit. Maybe that's what it's supposed to be like. Are comics' life supposed to be miserable, and that's how they get all their "hilarious" material? Life can give and take, is that what this is all about? Is this Apatow's stab at making a "film-makers" film? Maybe. All I know is that this is one train wreck of a movie that should probably be seen. What you make of it is debatable.