Film Reviews

Funny People Judd Apatow

Rating - 7/10

Funny People is the kind of film that doesn’t quite know what to do with itself, so many people may not know what to do with it. This is probably because it goes in so many directions almost from the beginning and doesn’t quit adding new elements until about ¾ of the way into the film.

With that said I would like to say that although the film does suffer some from all of the dimensions, it more than makes up for it with the amount of comedy, and in some cases the emotion, it adds to the film as a whole. I almost think that without all of these facets it would have just been another formulaic drama/comedy.

Most would say that when they walk into a Judd Apatow movie, either one he directed or produced, that they expect a fair amount of comedy, and thankfully since it’s a movie about comedians we get more than enough to float us through some of the drier parts of the movie. When I say drier I don’t necessarily mean the dramatic parts of the movie because a few of those actually work quite well, but instead that a number of moments in the film feel forced and don’t have the intended impact.

These forced moments in the film are not considered that way because of any problems with acting or direction, but instead just because Apatow wanted to cram so much into the movie, and it went beyond the scope of the story. The acting is actually much stronger than many probably expected, including myself. Seth Rogen and Adam Sandler do great work with their parts, especially Rogen, who has certainly grown as an actor as a result of Observe and Report. Sandler plays a parody of his life fearlessly, and the film definitely wouldn’t have worked half as well if another actor was involved. Leslie Mann does well with the character she has, but isn’t nearly as fleshed out as we’re used to from these movies. All other supporting characters do well in their parts, especially Jason Schwartzman and Eric Bana, who are hilariously over the top in their respective roles.

Stand up comedy is a large part of the movie, and given that most of the actors in the film started in stand up or currently perform stand up, it works very well. These sequences are really funny, and provide nice little breaks in the story where appropriate instead of feeling tacked on and extraneous. They work so well in fact that it was a little bit of a shame that they sort of disappeared once the love triangle aspect of the film started.

Apatow does a great job in the director’s chair, and definitely has grown into not only a great writer but a good visual storyteller as well. The locations all look great, and while the movie is a little long the pacing is done about as perfectly as it could have been.

Funny People is a very interesting film. It is flawed and far from perfect, but I almost feel as if it wanted to be. If the film was shorter and slightly more focused then it probably would have been a better film overall, but would have also lost a lot of comedy in the process. It’s a trade-off that I am more than happy to take because not only is the movie a decent lesson on choosing the path of your life, but one of the funnier and honest movies I’ve seen in a long time. Some will love it, and others will think Apatow has lost his touch but I assure you, he hasn’t and I’m extremely excited to see what comes next.