A film with Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen entitled Funny People would seem like a raunchy comedy filled with fart and sex jokes. Well, the truth is, it is except for the fact that through all of the jokes and comedy there is an underlying message in this film’s almost 3 hour running time and that is to appreciate life and those who are in it. The newest addition to Judd Apatow’s directing credit stars Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen in this dramatic comedy
Adam Sandler plays famous comedian and movie star George Simmons who has been given devastating news that makes him reflect on his life and the choices he has made. Sandler’s performance is amazing as he makes the audience, both in the movie and in the theater, laugh and at times cry. Unlike many of his past characters, Sandler makes George Simmons his own and almost as if he is telling his own personal story. In the opening scenes, the audience sees a young George, or Adam?, prank phone-calling with his buddies laughing and genuinely having a good time. The film then leaps to the present with a depressed George living in a lavish mansion….but alone.
In his rediscovery of what makes him happy George decides to go back to what he loves which is stand-up comedy in the local clubs. There, he meets and hires struggling comedian Ira Wright, played by Seth Rogen, to help him write jokes for his shows. Rogen portrays Ira as the sympathetic character struggling to make a name for himself in the comedic world while also keeping his compassionate and lovable side that seems to be sucked out of all successful comediens.
Towards the middle of the movie, George confides in Ira his secret that he has been keeping to himself. Ira tells George that he has to tell people who truly matter to him which George replies that he really has nobody else to tell because he lost touch will all of his old friends and family as well as his ex-fiance Laura. This is a moving scene in which the audience sees how truly alone and isolated George has made himself over the years. However, Ira tells George that this would be the time to reconnect with people from his past which George agrees to including Laura. These scenes of reconnection are truly entertaining and lighten the mood from the gross jokes to the heartwarming and comfortable atmosphere that George had been missing.
After going through his reconnection with family, friends and career, George is given news that changes once again the plot of the movie and possibly gives him a second chance in life. The question becomes from this point on in the film whether George can keep what he has been given or go back to the lonely comedien hack that he had become.
Funny People provides laughs throughout the movie but is not for everyone. The grotesque humor, at times, can take away from the message of the film. The lengthy running-time is also of some hinderance. However, if the movie was any shorter the audience would not experience the journey George goes through. Instead, it would have been another formulaic comedy of little to no substance.
The characters are entertaining, flawed, but pure. They have made mistakes but they make no effort in displaying that they are perfect. They know who they are and accept it. That is what makes this movie much more real. It is as if the audience is watching real people in real situations.
While this summer movies has no special effects or explosions, it does serve up alot of laughs and heart.
Apatow has made another great movie with an amazing and brilliant cast in Funny People which lives up to its title.