Thursday, August 27, 2009

Funny People - Serious Issues

Well gotta hand it to Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler, for delivering another soon to be middle of the road cult classic. This film is not what you would expect it be judging by the title. It has some great laughs but deals with some pretty heavy duty human issues about life, death, love and the meaning of life.

More so the empty shallow superficial life of a celebrity comic/movie star George Simmons played by Sandler. Adam Sandler has not shied too far from doing his old school humor, but over the years has been diving into more serious roles with marginal success. My favorite role of his to date being Spanglish, which was a very funny and heart breaking movie at the same time. Same goes for Reign Over Me where Adam played a widower of 911. It gave him some room to stretch his dramatic chops, but sort of feel short of being interesting.

Judd Apatow to date is known for three things. First is giving Seth Rogen a career. Second doing relatively light weight comedies. Thirdly giving his wife Leslie Mann, ( a beautiful funny and talented actress ) a consistent roles in all of his movies. Now it seems he is going make movie stars out of his kids as well. And to be honest his daughters add a certain comedic balance and harmony to the films. So well done there.

But it can be assumed that the darker side of this comedy was fueled a bit, or constructed for Adam Sandler, who seems to be taking on the darker roles with an interesting mix of fatalistic humor and childlike innocence and charm.

Seth Rogen also is starting to construct a reoccuring everyday kind of guy who is always at the short end of the stick, and yet manages to soldier on to acceptance of middle ground by the end of the story. He has adeptly managed to develop a likeable character that is not afraid to cry, and still be someone what crude and blunt with his humor. Sort of the next generation of comic.

The film deals with the Life of George Simmons, who must now decide how he wants to face the next few years of his life, in light of the fact that he is afflicted with a potentially life threatening disease. Though he has gained the world through his successes, he has lost his soul, his sense of self, and the illusion that any one cares about him. A hard reality to face alone.

So under the pretense that he is being hired to be his assistant, Ira Wright played by Rogen helps George come to terms with his short comings as a person, and helps him be a better man, albeit quite reluctantly.

The chemistry seems to work very well between the principle characters, despite the fact that the Apatow clan has become a tight fuctioning unit over the years. It only further proves that they are onto something when they can make it work by bringing talented outsiders in like Jason Schwartzman ( who provides some original tunes for the soundtrack) and Eric Bana, who seems able to ease himself more and more into the shoes of a comic actor as well.

The movie is very well scripted, casted and perched perfectly between very funny and very cathartic. May not be the most amazing movie you ever saw, but I am sure you are guaranteed to like it!

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