Monday, August 3, 2009

Funny People

I didn't know what to expect after reading mixed reviews of Funny People, mostly negative, but I'd already seen everything else I wanted to see at the theater. I was pleasantly surprised with this Adam Sandler film. Since the film is directed by Judd Apatow, of 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, you sort of know what to expect on the crude humor levels, but this film has a softer side.

George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is a famous comedian, like err Adam Sandler, who is diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. He lives in a huge house, with no one to fill it. George visits a stand-up comedy club where he delivers an awkward, impromtu speech. Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) is also giving his stand-up show at the club. George is impressed with him and calls Ira to write some jokes for a MySpace gig, which he gladly takes since he hates his job at a deli.

George takes a liking to Ira and hires him as his personal assistant/joke-writer. Ira is particularly lovable since he's innocent and kind. He lives with two loser roommates, Leo (Jonah Hill, of course) and Mark (Jason Schwartzman). Leo is a fellow comedian, while Mark has gotten a big ego over his role in a TV show called Yo Teach.

Ira ends up having to take care of George, including talking him to sleep every night. George decides to reconnect with his lost love, Laura (Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann). George broke her heart by cheating on her over a decade ago. She's since gotten married to Clarke (the adorable Eric Bana) and has two children.

When George visits the doctor, he finds out that his treatment has worked, and he's no longer dying. He decides to pursue Laura after he learns that she's unhappy with Clarke because he also cheats on her. Ira tries to interfere because he doesn't want him to break up their family.

There are a lot of cameos in this film including James Taylor, a depressing yet funny Eminem, Ray Romano, Andy Dick, RZA, Paul Reiser and Sarah Silverman. What is it with Sandler movies and cameos?

Yes, the language is offensive and over-the-top, but underneath it all this film means well. It offers up a picture of the price of fame and reminds us of what really matters in life.

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