Saturday, August 22, 2009

Funny People

Movie name: Funny People
Year of release: 2009
Director: Judd Apatow
Stars: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, Iris Apatow, Maude Apatow, Aubrey Plaza, Torsten Voges, RZA
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

Synopsis:Judd Apatow's third feature film features his usual roster of collaborators, but the film has a definitely improved look, much of it due to the fantastic director of photography that is Janusz Kaminski. "Funny People" follows the story of George Simmons, a successful actor (comedian) who learns from his doctor, that he has a terminal illness. George tries to deal with these news the best way he can, and one night following a disastrous stand up routine, he meets Ira Wright and Leo Koenig, two young up and coming comedians. George ends up hiring Ira for his assistant, so he can write jokes for him but also help around the house since his health is faltering. Ira, the eternal shy and klutz man around the girls, ends up forging an odd friendship with George. George in attempt to have some closure in his life, contacts one of his past girlfriends, which sets off a series of events. "Funny People" comes in the vein of Judd Apatow's previous comedies, but has a more serious and dramatic tone to it. In a way, it reminds a bit of James L. Brooks trademark, but with more penis jokes. The character that really sticks out is George, not for being the obvious centerpiece, but mostly because George is shown for who he is - a selfish and self absorbed person, who feels the need to reach out when he feels alone, but not for long. The remaining characters feel very underdeveloped, particularly the character portrayed by Eric Bana. Whereas "Knocked Up" featured a tone that was endearing and heartfelt, "Funny People" feels surprisingly like a slice of cliches (the alone movie star, the wife that is unhappy, the young aspiring comedian who can't get a girlfriend). With the uprise of the production values, something may have missed in this comedy - a heart.