Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Funny People (2009)

Movie quotes:
"I masturbate so much with hand cream, I forget people use it for shit other than masturbating. Literally, when I'm in public and I see someone pull out hand cream, I'm like "This guy's about to jerk off!""
- Ira Wright

"I know you sound like a regular joe where you come from, but here, I keep…thinking you’re going to be…torturing James Bond later."
- George Simmons to a thick-accented doctor

Clarke: Little fucka, little fucka, off to a big fucka, then he’s gonna go down to another big fucka, I hate that big fucka…
George: Where are the black guys?
[Clarke and George, watching Aussie Rules football]

At a glance:
There’s plenty of funny and raunchy jokes to cover up the maudlin sentimentality of Funny People

Our review (with spoilers):
George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is a phenomenally successful comedian who has made millions, but he has no friends and no love in his life. He blew his one chance at true love when he cheated on Laura (Leslie Mann). When he finds out that he is dieing from a blood disease, he begins to re-evaluate his car-collecting, groupie-banging philosophy. He takes young comic Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) under his wing. Ira is an employee but is still the closest thing George has to a friend. Complications set in when George’s experimental medicines cure him. He sees this as a second chance in life, and buoyed on by Laura’s dissatisfaction with her marriage, he makes a play for her – despite the fact that she has two daughters and a crazed Australian husband (played with hilarious vigor by Eric Bana) who will kill George if he finds out they are having an affair.

Adam Sandler has created the perfect movie – in some ways. For Sandler fans, they will find him hilarious (I suppose). For Sandler non-fans, he seems to be playing the exact person that we have come to know and not love: a guy who is successful but not very funny. It seemed to me that Sandler gave all of the funnier lines to the other comics – and there are many great comics in the film. This movie has that same feel as The Last Action Hero: a big star trying to parody himself. (It’s also overlong like The Last Action Hero). It doesn’t always work, but there are so many (mostly raunchy) laughs that you can forgive when the romance or schmaltz doesn’t work. Bana is particular is great – as a transplanted American in Australia, I loved the scene when he explains Aussie Rules football in his own unique terms. Overall, I’ve given it a high rating because of its ambitions, even if it fails sometimes in the storytelling.

Rating:  3 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"Funny People has some very funny moments but don't expect a joke fest. And don't expect a tight film either. At two and a half hours, it is not one but two films... and at least one of them shouldn't have been made."
- Giles Hardie (Sydney Morning Herald)

"The first part of the film is terrific and very funny. Apatow perfectly captures the ruthless competitiveness of young comics."
- Cosmo Landesman (Sunday Times [UK])

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