Sunday, August 02, 2009

"Funny People" (2009) - Movie Review

It is not a normal sight to see Adam Sandler as a prick and not yell as much as he does in his other fodder films. Here we begin the film “Funny People” with Sandler playing a successful comedian and star, learning that he is going to die soon. He is devastated and reacts to it. His projection of gloominess kills the funny bone of the audiences where aspiring stand up comedians Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) and Leo (Jonah Hill) try to make a name for themselves. He sees their act and calls up Ira to write jokes for him, of course he asks his friends to help too which Ira being fed up with his roommates says are not interested. This dying man’s fear of departing alone becomes an aiding process for his coming to terms in Apatow way.

As he hears the news, Simmons begins to recap his instances of doing a successful jerk to his friends, families and his one time girl friend Laura (Leslie Mann). “Funny People” is something more than the regular comedy fair what Apatow has brought before. He take it on a serious tone when the characters become likable. There is more than R-rated jokes happening out here. Those thing would come as a surprise for the fans looking out for a Sandler and Apatow fest of crazy comedies.

It could easily have become a more tragicomedy indie feature or a formula film of cuddly nature and it does not for a good reason. The people in it are desperate, lonely and good natured except of course George Simmons. He has become the estranged son to his parents and a brother a sister wanted to know more. Sandler contains his antics which he has done in the recent past and brings out this personality of riding in stars and yet we as the aspiring comedians and regular fans want to know him or take a picture.

But more than George Simmons is Ira Wright, a naive and enthusiastic man working from the holes of low income and a fighting morale for his success. He adores Simmons and loves to be his assistant cum writer for his dying jokes. He sees the hollowness Simmons has become and the effort he makes to make amends before he kicks the bucket. He is the one we come to root for as the twists of the story becomes to happen.

“Funny People” has a story for a comedy. I guess that is where Apatow has been able to separate himself from the situations evaporating into the sets of no interest for the comedians to act in other films. Here the people have shapes and character. They do not become the puppets for the lines to spurt out. There are supporting characters with whom we associate their reaction and laugh at it for being so. Such is Ira’s room mates Leo and the marginally successful sitcom star Mark (Jason Schwartzman).

The oscillations in the emotions are real while comic timing is immaculate as always in the pictures of gathering up his clans. Especially Seth Rogen has phenomenally impressive in being the guy we come to care about. His reign in his comedic role are pitch perfect and here we like him more than usual. He is hard working man trying to make a buck and name or two for himself. As he puts up with this ego starred jerk Simmons, he is the person we come to care about and as the film resolves, we are glad that he took someone along in bettering themselves.

For a comedy film, “Funny People” would appear a little long than usual but it is not a mere comedy. It is more than that where people transform as the situation puts them to and we understand their shifts. It is well written, originally played, properly put forth and a whole some movie than many would acclaim it to be.

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