Funny People (2009)

I could only wish that everybody was as funny as the title says.

When famous comedian George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is given a second chance at a new beginning, he and his assistant, a struggling comedian, Ira (Seth Rogen), return to the places and people that matter most…including the stand-up spots that gave him his start and the girl that got away (Leslie Mann).

With Judd Apatow’s last two at bats (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) he has shown that he can make hilarious comedies, with heart-felt messages somewhere in between. This is no different, except it kind of is.

Apatow as the writer is perfect. He always fines a perfect balance of heart and hilarity, and this is no exception. The jokes as usual, are hilarious, if you like a lot of boner jokes, and it almost never slows down. The stand-up seems just wreak with hilarity and a lot of originality. When Simmons gets cancer, you would think that the most would slow down, and get very very serious, however, Apatow changes that and never stops bringing out the jokes, and surprisingly a lot of them had me laughing-out-loud. You can tell that he has matured, and his writing makes you have more hope for him in the future.

Although, Apatow as the director, now that’s a stretch. He overuses the slow-zoom to show his characters being emotionally effected by something, it’s almost too obvious at times. Also, the first act between Rogen and Sandler works so well, it was this close to getting a 10/10, then came the next story with Sandler and Mann, then it just kind of lost me. It’s less of a buy-one-get-one-free deal, and more a but-one-and-get-one you really didn’t ask for deal. Both stories just don’t seem connected, and although the jokes kept up during the last act, I still didn’t find a reason for it. Oh, and the film is about 2 hours and 30 minutes, so be ready to be looking at your watch many times.

Apatow does a great job of blurring the line of fiction and non-fiction to create compelling, realistic performances from the cast. George Simmons is sort of the dream role for Adam Sandler. Mainly because Simmons is a goofy comedian, Sandler gets to indulge in that goofy side, we all know and love him for, but he gets to show the characters darker parts, and does a fantastic job at it. Although, I think the film could have done a better chance of showing Simmons in a more positive way sometimes. Simmons is a dick, especially towards the end, but we never get to see him come out of that dark shell, and understand who he has come to be.

The rest of the cast is perfect too. Seth Rogen (who is looking very, very slim) plays probably the least Seth Rogen he has ever played, because he doesn’t do that famous “Rogen chuckle“, and instead he does a character with nervous twitches, and mega-awkwardness. Leslie Mann is funny, but more serious than her usual character, and seems a lot more genuine during the last act, than she has, in a long time (yes, I’m talking about you George of the Jungle). There are other little characters that will make you laugh such as Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza, RZA, Aziz Ansari, but the most surprisingly funny one was…………….Eric Bana! He comes in the film and you expect him to play this really deuchy character, cause the whole film they talk about him so badly, then you meet him, and he’s downright lovable. He’s hilarious, sweet, and really cool. Kind of makes me forget about The Hulk.

The film probably should get an Oscar for the film with most cameos, if there ever was one. I mean you got Dave Attell, Sarah Silverman, Andy Dick, James Taylor, even Tom from MySpace (I don’t know how that guy still has a career). But the funniest one is between Eminem and Ray Romano, that will just have you cracking up, although it does seem really random. Better yet, you never know, Eminem probably wasn’t acting.

Consensus: Funny People is consistently funny, as well as being heart-felt, with great performances from the whole cast, even though the last act may take some away, and not very inspired direction.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!


  1. I think Funny People is criminally underrated and I’m glad to hear you like it. Def. stumbles in the 2nd and 3rd act but Apatow took his biggest chance where most people start going the safe and easy route. The meta-level of casting Sandler was perfect and brings together two generations of comedy in a fun way.

  2. I’m kind of obsessed with Leslie Mann, and it’s probably some leftover euphoria from “Knocked Up.” Honestly, I’d give her an Oscar for that movie. This was definitely a more sentimental role and she still nailed it.

    P.S. – I’ve been trying to include you in my “Origins Project” on my blog but the emails to you keep bouncing back. Got a better one where I can send the questions?

  3. I liked it and even the slower second half didn’t bother me. Hill and Schwartzman had hysterical back and forth and the surprise to me was Leslie Mann’s Australian accent…man, it had me in stitches.

    The only thing that got to me was the Hollywood ending. It would have been better if it ended as rocky as it was before that food court “tie it up in a bow” finale. But maybe I’ll have a different take on it if I see this again, which I plan to soon actually.

    • The second half didn’t really bother me as much, it’s just that it was so different in ways from the amazing first act, that it just didn’t seem to jell all that well.

  4. The first time I saw “Funny People” I was a bit disappointed that the movie wasn’t as funny as I had hoped.

    With the cast that was in the film I had really high expectations.

    But now that I’ve watched this movie a few more times, I really appreciate the story.

    Still could have used more RAAAAAAAANDY!

    Great site btw, keep it up.

  5. (Lots of comments today from me, but I’m just learning your site, so this is pretty cool).
    However, I’m surprised you liked Funny People. I didn’t find the standup funny and without the cancer, it really didn’t make much sense to be a movie.

    The third act just made me think this is Apatow’s attempt at The Great Gatsby–the book, I haven’t seen the movie.

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