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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Marketing was Wrong, but the Film is so RIGHT
This film was really a drama, so, if you go in with the mindset that you are watching a drama, this film will blow you away.

However, if you go into this film thinking it will be like 40-yr old Virgin or Hangover, then you will be disappointed (which is where all the low rated reviews come from).

This film does a great job of showing us the life of a...
Published on June 15, 2011 by amnightus

versus
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed and Meandering Yet Still a Worthwhile Look Inside a Stand-Up Comic's Mind
The psyche of the stand-up comedian is the subject of Judd Apatow's third and most ambitious directorial effort, but the elliptical, rather skewed characters that inhabit this serious-minded 2009 comedy obscure the personal revelations that he ironically attempts to mine. In certain ways, it's a dramatically audacious film, yet in others, Apatow comes back to the...
Published on November 26, 2009 by Ed Uyeshima


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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Marketing was Wrong, but the Film is so RIGHT, June 15, 2011
By 
This review is from: Funny People (DVD)
This film was really a drama, so, if you go in with the mindset that you are watching a drama, this film will blow you away.

However, if you go into this film thinking it will be like 40-yr old Virgin or Hangover, then you will be disappointed (which is where all the low rated reviews come from).

This film does a great job of showing us the life of a Comedian/Actor who is dying from an illness.

The film has a whole lot of levels going on which is over the head of most of the people who rated the film low.

It is a comedic form of the movie Inception. You have actors playing comedians who have dual lives where they alternate from being "on" and "off"....

The problem is most people have a misconception of how comedians live their real lives.

Anyways, great movie. Go in with the mindset that you are watching a drama and this movie will blow you away.

enjoy

amnightus
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed and Meandering Yet Still a Worthwhile Look Inside a Stand-Up Comic's Mind, November 26, 2009
The psyche of the stand-up comedian is the subject of Judd Apatow's third and most ambitious directorial effort, but the elliptical, rather skewed characters that inhabit this serious-minded 2009 comedy obscure the personal revelations that he ironically attempts to mine. In certain ways, it's a dramatically audacious film, yet in others, Apatow comes back to the comfortably off-kilter humor of his previous ensemble efforts, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. Sometimes the balance feels very off here, primarily because the protagonist is so hard to read from the outside. It was inevitable that the director cast his former roommate Adam Sandler as George Simmons, a comic who has become a major movie star based on the type of juvenilia he constantly ridicules. Sandler accurately captures both the demented comedy mind and the innate cruelty that keeps everyone at arm's length. It's a tricky part that has quite a few autobiographical elements for both director and star, but he plays it with melancholic deftness.

The meandering plot begins with George receiving bad news. He finds out he's dying of a rare blood disease and recognizes a need to reassess his priorities. George spots a struggling young comic, Ira Wright, at a local comedy club and hires him to write material and become his gopher. They bond quickly, and Ira becomes George's confidant, the only one who knows of his fatal diagnosis. Ira also has two roommates, another stand-up comic and an actor who has already caught his break starring as a teacher in a high school-set sitcom. Both become envious of Ira's budding relationship with George. Meanwhile, an old flame reenters George's life, Laura, a former actress who has turned into a suburbanite married to an Aussie exporter and raising two daughters in Marin County. Sparks are rekindled, and relationships start to get messy all around. As both writer and director, Apatow handles the situations dexterously but excessively. The film runs on far too long at a marathon 153 minutes and then simply trails off.

Newly trimmed down, Apatow protégé Seth Rogen plays his familiar dweebish persona as Ira, although he brings more depth to his submissive character with each humiliating act. Leslie Mann, Apatow's wife, has been promoted to leading lady this time as Laura, and she excels with her endearingly brittle style. In another justified act of nepotism, the director recruited their children to play the two precocious daughters. Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman play the roommates with their usual deadpan aplomb. The film's biggest surprise is the usually dour Eric Bana (Munich) lightening up quite a bit as Laura's suspicious husband. Cameos from well-known comics (Ray Romano, Andy Dick, Paul Reiser, Sarah Silverman, etc.) and even comic turns from the likes of Eminem and James Taylor are sprinkled throughout to give the film an air of Hollywood-style realism. The esteemed cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List) provides the film a bright, sharp look throughout.

The two-disc 2009 DVD set smacks of overkill, but there are highlights to consider, chief among them the amusing commentary from Apatow, Sandler, and Rogen, in which they hilariously separate fact from fiction. The first disc also contains a four-minute gag reel. Disc Two contains 21 minutes of deleted scenes; six extended and alternate scenes; another gag reel; and a line-o-rama, a standard extra on Apatow's DVDs where the actors riff on the same lines for maximum comic effect. A lengthy, one-hour-plus video diary from the director is the centerpiece of Disc Two. Other featurettes center on Aziz Ansari's obnoxious stand-up comic; archival footage of Sandler and a thirteen-year-old Rogen; and a faux-documentary on George Simmons' film career. There are also music clips from Taylor, as well as Sandler performing with musician Jon Brion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but still a misunderstood and underappreciated film., June 30, 2010
This review is from: Funny People (DVD)
The movie Funny People has baffled many of Sandler and Apatow's fans because it's very different from each man's respective work. But that doesn't mean that the film is weaker by any means. Yes, the film is flawed, it's too long, and draggy in parts. The last 45 to 60 minutes seem disjointed, compared to the first half of the film that focuses on Sandler's relationship with Ira, Seth Rogen's character.

But it's also a very clever blend of comedy and drama, which is very difficult to put together in most contemporary films. I really believe this is Sandler's best role, a mature man filled with loneliness and regret. It's an honest examination of how far a man will go to correct all of the mistakes he's made in his life.

Sandler is the star of the show, and anyone expecting the caricature that Dennis Dugan has created of Sandler should walk away. Sandler isn't doing Billy Madison, or Little Nicky here. This is Sandler playing a comedian with more depth.

The relationship between Sandler and Rogen is explored really well. Of course, I would rather see Apatow focus the whole movie on their relationship, rather than his relationship with Leslie Mann, but at least you can't fault Apatow for his ambitious vision.

The film bites off more than it can chew, but I really do believe it's one of the best comedies of the decade, and the highlight of Sandler's career.
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37 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jake LaMotta would've made a hell of a comedian, November 1, 2009
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This review is from: Funny People (DVD)
Judd Apatow's Funny People is going to divide audiences (it certainly has divided critics). Those going in expecting a comedy along the lines of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up or any other of the films in the Apatow-verse will enjoy it but not love it. But that reaction may be more a product of the misdirection in the marketing of the film than anything else. Funny People is going for something more emotionally complex, and it succeeds on that count.

Without dwelling on plot, the film focuses, by and large, on the professional and personal lives of a group of comics and comic actors at various rungs of the show business ladder, from Adam Sandler's George Simmons, a hugely successful film comedy star who came out of the stand-up comedy world, to Seth Rogan's Ira Wright, a novice comic who is drawn into George's world, to Ira's friends, who are his roommates, who are his competitors.

The common thread running through these characters is anger and aggression, both explicit and sublimated. They steal jokes, jobs and women from each other (listed here in order of importance to the comics). The relationship between the performers and their audiences is similarly complicated (it's become a cliched observation that comics talk about "killing" the crowd).

Interestingly, although all the comedians share this anger and aggression, it's only those who ride those dark emotions into similarly dark comedy that have preserved their spark. The farther the comics stray from their anger, the worse their comedy - as evidenced by Sandler's character, who churns out family-friendly claptrap and co-star Jason Schwartzman's Yo, Teach!, a self-important sitcom (both brilliantly captured in clips woven into Funny People).

In Funny People, comedy is the universal language by which these emotionally-constricted characters communicate. There are awkward hugs and half-hearted attempts at compassion, but the most tender moment, coming late in the film, involves one character expressing love by writing jokes for another.

All this aside, I don't want to lose sight of the fact that this is a funny, entertaining, emotionally-involving film. But that said, in an odd way, Funny People echoes Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull. Both films are about angry and aggressive people who channel those drives in socially acceptable ways. (Even more oddly, Billy Crystal's horrific and mawkish Mr. Saturday Night attempted more overtly to be the Raging Bull of comedy, and the less said about that effort the better.)

It wasn't until the ride home from the movie that it occurred to me that the "funny" in the title Funny People could have two meanings; there's funny ha-ha, and funny-odd. Here, the people are intentionally, compellingly both.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Apatow's weakest work to date, November 29, 2009
By 
This review is from: Funny People (DVD)
This was a movie that reached a bit beyond the director's talent level. Apatow for all his praise of his last two directorial efforts, is basically a formula director. His formula is basically alot of penis, masturbation, and oral sex jokes masking the promotion of conservative morals & family values (No sex before marriage with 40 Year Old Virgin & the responsibility of fatherhood in Knocked Up). That might sound bad but his first two films were effective comedies. Not so much with this one.

The first hour of this movie is actually pretty great. It establishes the two main characters well, Seth Rogen's trying to find a way through the door comedian Ira, and Sandler's character of George Simmons which is mostly meant to mock his real life success as a movie star. Rogen is essentially playing the same character he has played in most of his starring comedic roles up to this date (minus Observe and Report) so its mostly Sandler's show in this one. They do a great job at lampooning his career with him but also let him be an interesting character in his own right with the look into his hollow existence and self realization of it. Its quite entertaining as they develop a working relationship and go on the stand up circuit.

The Movie kind of falls apart after the first hour after a plot device from that hour is dropped and so the film goes off a completely different tangent. Now Sandler's character is contacts with his ex-fiance who is married and has children, and Sandler is now focused on reconnecting with her and the rest of the film revolves around that pursuit and the whole stand up comedy part is dead in the water, and alot of the minor characters from earlier in the film are for the part written out of the flick (given a few minutes of screen time at the end to wrap things up, like a small budding romance Rogen has with a comedienne and his funny yet adversarial roommates.)

I dont know why Apatow did this, maybe he fealt vain and show off his wife and children again like he did in Knocked Up (even worse here as he even brings in a home video of his daughter at a talent show and gives them a ton more face time here) or whatever, but for for the rest of the movie we have another one of formulaic tricks, the conservative family values part. So you basically you know how this little endeavor ends. Another problem is that this is way way way too long. This movie shouldn't have had to be 2 hours long let alone its 2 and a half hours running time. Its just too much.

With a brilliant first half hour ruined by the next hour and half this movie was disappointing. It exposes Apatow for the mediocre talent that he is, that he isnt nearly as good of a director or writer as he is as a producer. Its good when he hands over the reins to better talents like Jody Hill and David Gordon Green because he can't seem to handle all the processes at once. Skip this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Twice as long, half as funny, and much the same, November 27, 2009
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This review is from: Funny People (DVD)
There are some genuinely funny parts of Judd Apatow's longest film to date, and most of them involve a truly awful network sitcom Jason Schwartzman is starring in called "Yo, Teach!" That accounts for about five minutes of this film; you keep wondering what Apatow thought he was doing for the other 148. The first half involves a famous Adam Sandler-like stand-up comic (played by Adam Sandler, showing almost no distance whatsoever from his usual persona) who discovers he's ill with a variant of leukemia, and who starts mentoring a young nebbishy comic (inevitably played by Seth Rogen) as he also seeks to make amends for his horrible behavior throughout his life, his lack of connections with his family, and (in particular) chasing away the great love of his life (Leslie Mann). Then the Sandler character unexpectedly responds to his treatment, and the rest of the film is mostly a (lengthy) shaggy-dog story of a weekend trip he and the Rogen character take to the San Francisco Bay Area to perform a comedy gig so he can hook up again with the married lost sweetheart.

You keep waiting for the point of the movie to be revealed, and it's not until the end that you begin to see how you're supposed to make sense of the characters. By this point the patterns we see them in are so familiar from Apatow's other films that we can almost color in everything ourselves. A man has to grow up and stand on his own two feet; selfish people will eventually become lonely; a man's best friends are his freakish loser roommates... all this will seem dully familiar. Mann does not embarrass herself as Sandler's lost love; and the two charming daughters she and Apatow share, Maude and Iris, steal much of the movie as her character's daughters. Rogen does everything we've seen him do before by being shambling and lovable, and Eric Bana seems in the wrong film as Mann's studly Aussie husband. The "Laugh, clown, laugh" first section of the film would be truly intolerable if not for the brief comic bits with Schwartzman and (again inevitably) Jonah Hill as the loser roommates, and for the absorbing decorating details of the Sandler character's fabulous oceanside palazzo.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very funny, even when Apatow takes us to some dark places. However, editing was needed., August 3, 2009
By 
RMurray847 (Albuquerque, NM United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
FUNNY PEOPLE is no 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN or KNOCKED UP. The key thing to know about that: it isn't trying to be. Some have called FUNNY PEOPLE a failure because it fails to live up to the sheer comedic bliss those two movies provide. While it is VERY funny and has thrice the laughs that most comedies provide, it has a bit more serious business to attend to.

VIRGIN was a comedy about a shy man who was almost deathly afraid to get to know women because of this giant "virginess" hanging over his head. The movie was mostly funny, but succeeded because their were genuine moments of tenderness and understanding.

KNOCKED UP was a comedy about two VERY different people who get drunk, conceive a child and then decide, against all odds to not only bring the baby into the world, but to try to be a couple for that child. It showed, in a side story, the on-the-edge marriage of another couple, who were filled with seeming unstoppable bitterness at each other. There were some sobering moments, but overall, it was a feel-good film that explored some tough subjects but found generally congenial ways to move on.

FUNNY PEOPLE refuses easy answers and "happy" solutions. It deals with heavier subject matter, and doesn't shy away from them. Therefore, it is sometimes less "fun" that Director/Writer Judd Apatow's other films (above). It is sometimes uneven in tone, and there is a bit too much wallowing in the old idea that behind the mask of a comedian lies the face of sadness or tragedy. Any film that asks us to feel sorry for a wildly successful, famous person has a bit of an uphill struggle.

But Apatow still mostly pulls it off. He's got a tough juggling act, and seldom looses sight of the balls...although his act goes on about 20 minutes too long (the film is two hours & 25 minutes long, and doesn't quite earn the "extra" time).

FUNNY PEOPLE stars Adam Sandler as a highly successful, very famous stand-up turned movie star (much like a certain Adam Sandler in real life). He's made a lot of terrible movies, but they've given him a luxurious and decadent lifestyle, one that has also isolated him a bit from the world. When he receives a poor diagnosis from his doctor, and seems almost certain to die soon from a form of leukemia...he starts to take out his feelings on one of his audiences at an amateur improv night that he has crashed. The unknown comic who follows him (Seth Rogan), ends up making up some jokes about Sandler's meltdown...and he slays the audience and gets the attention of Sandler, who hires Rogan to write jokes for him and to serve as his assistant.

Rogan essentially becomes Sandler's confidant...because Sandler has no friends. While he lives a hedonistic lifestyle, he clearly pines for the "one who got away," Leslie Mann. Mann is now married to Eric Bana, has two lovely daughters (Maude & Iris Apatow...essentially reprising their roles from KNOCKED UP), and is unavailable to Sandler.

The growing relationship between these two men makes up the first half of the movie, as Sandler goes through various ways of coping or planning for his demise. Rogan is also able to ride Sandler's coattails a bit, and begins to mature as a stand-up himself.

Into this mix we also have Rogan's two roommates, Jonah Hill, playing another aspiring comic, and Jason Schwartzman, another friend who has just landed a starring role in what looks like a terrible sitcom on something like ABC Family or Disney network. The dynamics between these three roommates are hilarious, believable and would almost make their own movie. In fact, it's easy to say that they should have been left out so that the film could focus more...but this would make the movie TOO insular, too isolated & lonely. Rogan HAS a life...a dysfunctional one, true...but a life. Sandler, by contrast, has STUFF.

Things take a probably not too surprising turn at roughly the midpoint of the film. (If you've seen the trailers, you know what I mean.) And thus, it is required to take off in a different direction. Sandler's character, in particular, is given some real opportunities (Rogan is something of an afterthought for awhile)...and his opportunities sure look like they're going to play out in a very predictable manner. But Apatow has some genuine surprises hidden up his sleeve.

In the end, almost no one gets quite what they expected, and yet everyone HAS been given a gift of some sort as well. As the film wrapped up, the mood was somber, sad even...but not without hope. As our two leads trade crude jokes across a dining table, the film fades out on our laughter...laughter that we're glad to use to cover up the sadness we're feeling.

As I mentioned, the idea of the comic as some sort of tortured soul is a bit hard to buy hook, line & sinker. Apatow and his whole team are very funny people, and they want the audience to "feel their pain," I suppose. And we do, as we become engaged with the characters, but still, I always felt just a little removed from the idea that blistering, funny comedy can only be masking ancient hurts and raw emotions. Isn't anyone funny just because they're happy? For every tortured comedian out there (Richard Pryor, Jackie Gleason), aren't there some who are a little more stable (Bob Newhart comes to mind)?

Yet Apatow is also pretty daring in some ways. He makes us feel a bit sorry for Sandler, but he also lets us see that Sandler is an a**hole. We think that underneath the exterior we see of a jerk, there must lie a gentler, more human heart. And there does. But truly at the core, there is still an a**hole. Sandler doesn't shy away from that reality...and in the end, it is his performance that makes this film work. Everyone is very good in the film...but it is Sandler whose journey we're really following, and he knocks it out of the park. One can argue that his role is within his comfort zone, but from what I understand, Sandler is actually happily married and has been for some time. He even has friends. So he's playing the version of himself that COULD have been...but however you care to characterize it...he's allowing himself to show some raw emotion that is occasionally very effective.

Leslie Mann is always a welcome, sparkling presence...but her character also goes places we might not expect. Jonah Hill & Jason Schwartzman do riffs on their usual personas, but in the end, they reach just a little deeper and find something true. Rogan (thankfully skinner & healthier...although still a schlub) reigns himself in when appropriate and feels more like a real person than he has before. And Eric Bana, in what should have been a cardboard role, is allowed to both have fun at his own expense and to show some real emotion. (And James Taylor makes a brief cameo in which he is given one of the funniest lines in the film.)

So there is much to admire, indeed. But I can't quite give the film my most enthusiastic embrace because it's a bit too long, and that length feels like unneeded navel gazing. I recommend it, but I doubt I'll be returning to it very often in the future.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Apatow's most mature effort..., January 10, 2010
This review is from: Funny People (DVD)
... and perhaps that's what made it unpalatable to many of his fans. Characters are extremely well-developed (AND portrayed), there is more heart underneath the expected "potty humor..." if Mr. Apatow continues to grow as a writer, I'll continue to watch his movies.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Painful, November 28, 2009
This review is from: Funny People (DVD)
Now, when I first heard that Adam Sandler was going to be making a movie with Seth Rogan, I thought, "Of course I have to go see this!" Two really funny comedians in one movie together? What would be better?

I'll tell you.

ANYTHING.

Sandler plays a big-shot famous comedian who just finds out that he's dying. Through a strange set of coincidences, Rogan becomes very close to Sandler's character and...well, I don't want to give too much away. But, throughout the movie, there are multiple scenes that actually take place in comedy clubs, where these people who are supposedly great stand up comedians are doing there stuff. In the movie, the audience watching them is crying as they laugh. In my theater? Everyone had the same confused-dead-pan-what-the-heck-is-supposed-to-be-funny-about-this look on their faces. Were those supposed to be jokes that they were telling?

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting any "why did the chicken cross the road jokes", and I knew that because the movie was rated R, there would be plenty of crude body jokes, but come on! Rogan's character's jokes revolved only around his "manliness" and farts. Even Sandler's character pointed out that Rogan would never get a girl if he kept talking about things like that. I personally got so tired of the repetitiveness of Rogan's jokes that whenever he got up to perform, I would zone out and start paying attention to the people sitting around me because, honestly, they were more entertaining than what I had paid nine dollars to go and see.

When it got to the second half of the over 2 hour long movie, the "funny parts" disappeared completely. It wasn't even pathetically funny. No, in the end I would've called this movie People, because the said People were definitely not Funny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There's a Good Movie in There Somewhere, December 25, 2012
By 
I feel this film is very misunderstood, people saw Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow's name on this project and immediately expected a "rolling in the aisle" comedy, when really this movie is more about life than comedy. Now what I will say is the runtime is a bit extensive and the ending gets monotonous, I would have shaved 20 - 40 minutes off, but what I think people don't like the most about the film is how real the picture is.

A lot of people went into the movie thinking "I'm gonna get to watch a hilarious comedy with some of the funniest people in the business" when the film is just too real for that. Truly brilliant comedy does shine through, even from a somewhat cameo by Eric Bana (who spent the first 10 years of his career as a comedian), throwing in Bana was kind of a cool nod to the reference of him in Knocked Up "If any of us get laid tonight it's because of Eric Bana".

But one of the things I enjoyed most was the whole life of a stand-up comedian from the big time to the small time, not to mention all the actors used were real comedians. Also Sandler's character (really just playing himself almost parodying his recent terrible movies) has a ridiculously awesome house.
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Funny People
Funny People by Judd Apatow (DVD - 2009)
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