The night after I saw “Funny People” one of my family members went to see it as well. When she asked me how it was, I said “Leave after about an hour and a half.” In retrospect, this is what made the movie merely pretty good as opposed to really really great (which it could’ve been). The movie is really great, all the way up to the moment where Sandler and Rogen get in a car to go see Sandler’s ex-fiance.
There were a lot of positives. I absolutely loved the writing. It was a ballsy move to make such a dark comedy, and at times this movie uses everyone’s fear of death and mortality to create some hilarious moments. Some of the stand-up scenes were pretty entertaining, though some of it wasn’t too good. The characters and dialogue all felt real, which is something that Apatow movies execute surprisingly and consistently well.
One thing that really surprised me was how good the acting was. I don’t really like Seth Rogen’s acting, but he did well in his role as Ira, basically a struggling comic who starts working with his idol (Sandler’s character, George Simmons) and is completely awestruck being around the guy. Jonah Hill was awesome as always, Jason Schwartzmann’s character was damn funny, and a lot of the random supporting characters provided great moments. There were plenty of cameos from famous people, but none beat James Taylor and Eminem. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Leslie Mann and Eric Bana both acted really well, the only problem is that their characters basically ruined the fucking movie.
Adam Sandler was absolutely phenomenal. He absolutely nailed the role, which makes me think that in real life it’s very possible that he’s just kind of a grumpy selfish asshole. But every scene, whether being scared of dying, whether joking around with Rogen, or whether trying to re-kindle his romance with his ex, Sandler was just great. He genuinely brought a lot of depth to a character that couldn’t have worked without it. Part of the interesting thing about his character is that it’s really just “what if Adam Sandler never got married and was dying?” There’s a lot about Sandler’s character no longer doing stand-up and just doing a whole bunch of crappy kids movies to make money, and how that leaves him feeling unfulfilled with his life and career when he realizes he may be dying. Again, he couldn’t have been better.
Oddly enough, I thought the funniest part of the movie was by far the first 2 or 3 minutes. Judd Apatow and Sandler were actually roommates in New York something like 20 years ago before either of them had done anything of note or achieved any kind of fame. Apatow apparently filmed a bunch of the things they did, and some of those tapes were Sandler making prank phone calls. I nearly peed in my pants. I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard at anything, and since it was 2 minutes straight I thought I was going to break a rip. It was just one of those moments that reminded you why, for a while, he wasn’t Adam Sandler making dumb kids’ movies. He was Adam Motherfucking Sandler, one of the most hilarious people on the face of the earth. In all honesty, that first sequence makes the movie more than worth it.
I liked this movie. The problem is that the last 45 minutes or so were just not entertaining. I spent the whole time looking at my phone like I was waiting to get out of class. There were barely any laughs, and the whole romance arc was just not necessary at all. Really, it was just so unexpected that it ended up taking away from how good the movie is before that. Either way, I’d still say “Funny People” lives up to it’s name, and is definitely worth watching.
Final Grade: B