Friday, July 31, 2009

Funny People: Reviewed (The Time Traveler is in it!!)

Allow me to introduce you to Funny People. A not-so-little movie about life. In Funny People, Adam Sandler plays George Simmons, a famous comedic actor who has just been diagnosed with a form of leukemia that leaves him with only an 8% chance of survival. George meets Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) at a comedy club, and gets him to write jokes for him and serve as his personal assistant. After being told that his disease is in remission, George begins to reexamine his life and the choices he's made.

Now that we all know each other, let's talk about if this movie was good or not. I saw Funny People at the midnight showing, which I highly recommend. Seeing movies at midnight makes me feel oddly important. Almost as though I'm seeing the movie before everyone else, just to make sure that it's good. As if to say, "Don't worry world, Dan has seen this movie already. He approves." However, that being said, I hold no power to stop the movies that make me upset in the stomach. (*cough* Year One *cough*)

To get the initial suspense out of the way, Funny People was most definitely worth seeing. The movie paints a great picture of a man with everything and yet nothing in Adam Sandler's character, and following him through his life, near death, and rediscovery of life is not only entertaining, but endearing, showing that Sandler is quite capable of playing roles with some depth. Sandler's character also provided what was, in my opinion, the most entertaining part of the movie, in his brief cameos in fake clips of comedies his character had made. These clips of about 10-15 seconds managed to get me laughing every time; for instance, one shows Sandler taking part in a hotdog eating contest as his son proclaims, "This won't bring mom back!!" Along with these fake film clips are hilarious clips of Ira's roommate Mark's (Jason Schwartzman) fake NBC sitcom called simply, "Yo, Teach!" These clips capture the essence of a bad sitcom so perfectly that I almost feel like it's a show I would watch on a tuesday night. However, this leads me to one of my bigger complaints in the movie, and that was the complete under utilization of Rogen's roomates, Mark, played by Schwartzman and Leo, played perfectly by Jonah Hill. These two characters compliment Rogen's so well that it seemed criminal to make so little use of their relationship. However, relationships involving Rogen's character seemed to take an overall backseat, especially in the romantic department, making his love affair with Daisy, played by the extremely attractive Audrey Plaza, seem somewhat rushed and underplayed. Ira is a very interesting character, and I wish that there had been more focus on his personal journey throughout this story, because Rogen played him perfectly in all his quirky and awkward glory.

In the end, what this movie lacked wasn't drama, but moreso the right kind of drama. The movie focused plenty on Sandler's character's mistakes in life, and his attempts to right them, but failed to hit the overall point I was hoping to see in this movie, but then again maybe that's selfish.

Allow me to explain myself. I'm going to level with you readers, because you guys are all so cool, so buckle up. If for some bizarre reason you read my blog and you aren't a personal friend of some kind, an important fact about me is that I'm a standup comedian. As a comedian, when I saw the previews for this movie, I freaked. Finally! A movie I can hold up as my banner, saying with modest pretention, "Hey! Look at this! This is vaguely what my life is like! You don't understand this movie like I understand this movie!!" However, Funny People wasn't about stand-up comedy, and really wasn't about comedy at all. One of my greatest personal philosophies, and probably the reason I love comedy so much (Oh here he goes....) is the belief that laughter is one of the only ways that you can truly stand life. Life isn't terribly fair, and often isn't a whole lot of fun, but something that life is, is funny. You can always laugh at yourself, even if you think you're too cool, and it makes life just that much better to be able to, which I guess was the philosophy I was hoping this movie would convey. Through George's disease, and surrounding disaster of a life, maybe George would use the power of comedy and laughter to find his own bright sides and begin making changes. Instead the movie went with more of the typical, "life is precious, enjoy it while you can," moral, which I found a little dissapointing.

The movie is most certainly not a gut busting comedy, but it keeps the laughs coming, even if every now and then they're reduced to chuckles. However, despite the fact that this movie's philosophy didn't match my own, and despite the fact that it didn't even give me a chance to be pretentious, and despite the fact that it was 2 and a half hours, I still was glad that I saw it, as the ending leaves you feeling unexpectadly satisfied, and full of laughs. Funny People is not the Apatow-Opus that I was hoping for, but it's definitely better than Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin, so that's something the director can really hang his hat on. However, good luck making a better movie than Heavyweights, Mr. Apatow. Good Luck, indeed.

The Awesometer:


A 7 you say?

Why that's about as awesome as....

Being sent a delicious christmas ham, free of charge.
Seeing a Grizzly Bear battle a baby sasquatch.
Telling my friends I want to see The Time Traveler's Wife and NOT having them call me gay."But guys, their love can't even be contained by TIME."

1 comment:

  1. Not better than "40-Year Old Virgin."

    This movie had no moral.

    Good angle on the "laughter as medicine" thing, though. I never thought about that.

    Seth Rogen is you in this movie.