FUNNY PEOPLE (15)
D: Judd Apatow
Universal/Columbia/Relativity Media (Judd Apatow, Clayton Townsend & Barry Mendel)
USA 🇺🇸 2009
W: Judd Apatow
DP: Janusz Kaminski
Ed: Brent White & Craig Alpert
Mus: Michael Andrews & Jason Schwartzman
Adam Sandler (George Simmons), Seth Rogen (Ira Wright), Leslie Mann (Laura), Eric Bana (Clarke), Jonah Hill (Leo Koenig), Jason Schwarzman (Mark Taylor Jackson)
The film opens with a younger Adam Sandler making relentless prank phone calls (courtesy of home video footage taken by writer/director Judd Apatow when the two were roommates). It's his usual schtick, yet Funny People manages to be amongst Sandler's most mature work.
He's perfectly cast here as an obnoxious, arrogant stand-up comedian with a massive fanbase (so basically playing himself), but when he receives the news that he's suffering from a potentially terminal blood disease, he hires a young, struggling comedy writer (Seth Rogen) to pen some new material for him.
This is basically The Great Gatsby, relocated to the world of stand-up comedy, and while the performances are good and the stand-up scenes have some well-written humour, the rest of the film isn't so funny.
The length of the film isn't particularly kind either, especially when there's a lot of filler consisting of in-jokes between the director and his cast of friends which the audience may not be privy to.
Enjoyable, but not the stand-up comedy epic that Apatow intended it to be.