Funny People (2009) – 4/5

Interesting. Not something you’d expect from Judd Apatow given his previous few films. This isn’t a comedy, it’s a drama with penis jokes in it. And a very well written, well crafted drama with very funny penis jokes at that.

I was surprised at how much I actually liked this film. The acting is strong, the humor is consistent, and there are scenes that stick in your mind long after the film ends. I can think of two in particular: the scene where Adam Sandler and Leslie Mann’s characters interact on-screen for the first time, and a scene at the end between Sandler and Seth Rogen in a car driving back to Los Angeles after a rather eventful couple of days. Both scenes run on pure emotion and acting skill, and they’re masterful.

The film is pretty straightforward and interesting, and Sandler’s self parody posters/commercials are hilarious. The final third or so gets a bit convoluted once Eric Bana’s character is introduced, though. He’s just trying to be too many things at once: funny, macho, a scumbag, a nice guy. It doesn’t work.

And what ends up happening with that whole situation was a bit unsatisfying. They spend the entire film building up something that is never paid off. I just didn’t buy **SPOILERS** Leslie Mann’s character being so willing to give up her family one moment, then change her mind and blaming her previous actions on being “emotionally manipulated” by Sandler’s character the next. What a scumbag. Why is Sandler into this woman? **END SPOILERS**

Another thing that annoyed me was Seth Rogen’s wimpiness when it came to women. This girl he’s interested in and has asked out sleeps with one of his roommates, and instead of cursing her name and never speaking to her again, he gives her a mild scolding and later in the movie apologizes to her for having done so. Ridiculous. And the girl is not only unapologetic about the whole thing, but actually turns it around and makes him look like the jackass. Come on, people. On top of that, the girl can’t even act. Sure, she’s nice to look at, but hire someone with at least some kind of personality to be the secondary love interest. Geez.

Anyway, good movie, entertaining. Not surprised it didn’t make any money; it had way too much going against it. It’s not a comedy for teens like all of Apatow’s previous films have been, it’s an “adult” comedy, if such things even exist, which apparently they do. It also stars two of the biggest teen comedy audience actors in film today, and was marketed like a straight comedy when it really shouldn’t have been. Too bad, it’s certainly worth watching.

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