Funny People

  • Year:2009
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:Judd Apatow
  • Cast:Eric Bana, Leslie Mann, Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler
  • Release Date:September 10, 2009
  • Distributor:Universal
  • Running time:146 minutes
  • Film Worth:$14.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Comedy king Judd Apatow delivers another hit with this hilarious personal story that also deals with the big issues in a touching way.

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After the smash hits Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin (not to mention the dozen or so other films that he's produced and co-scripted) writer/director/producer Judd Apatow now wields a mighty big stick at Hollywood. He's the comedy fixture of the moment, and like all visionary directors, Apatow has used his power to make what is often The Holy Grail for filmmakers: the personal project. Apatow is not just a creator of comedy, but also one of its greatest fans. He loves comedy and comedians, and Funny People lets him express that adoration...though perhaps not in the way that you'd expect.

George Simmons (Adam Sandler in a role so perfectly suitable that it plays out like the comedy version of the Mickey Rourke/The Wrestler alchemy) is a comedian turned big time movie star. He's also an insecure, friendless egotist who doesn't mind taking advantage of his superstar status...especially with the ladies. When George learns that he's dying, however, he tries to make amends, and starts by taking a promising young comic (Seth Rogen, playing against type as a sweet-hearted moralist) under his wing. George also wants to reconnect with the ex-girlfriend (Leslie Mann) whose heart he broke years ago. 

As with all of Apatow's films, the pop culture references are absolutely pitch perfect (the horrendous films in which Simmons stars could easily be vehicles for Eddie Murphy, Jim Carrey, or even Sandler himself); the dialogue (much of it famously improvised) has a delightful tang; and the performances (Eric Bana is brilliant as Mann's boorish Aussie husband) are spot-on. It's the seriousness, however, that sets Funny People apart. Apatow tackles the big issues here (love, death, friendship, sex), and he does it in a way that would put most "serious filmmakers" to shame. Funny People is another winner from one of the best in the business.

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