Funny is a state of Mind8/03/2009
So yesterday a few of us saw "Funny People" in which we only had to pay half price (thanks to the awesome 3 beers, 1 free movie ticket deal at Sunrise Cinemas).
To just get it out of the way--yes, it was long. It ran for more than two hours and maybe it didn't need to, with there being a few potholes of lagging here and there. But, overall, I was quite satisfied with the movie. It's ridiculous that Judd Apatow makes a couple raunchy comedies and now apparently he's not allowed to make a smart not-so-raunchy comedy. The man makes movies--so let him do what he does best.
I am a fan of both "40 Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up" (Katherine Heigl's better days), and I was well aware that this movie was going to be different. I left satisfied after staring at a big screen for about 140 minutes for the following reasons (in no particular order):
Eric Bana's accent: I don't really care what movie he's in because, quite frankly, I don't see movies for him. But I did enjoy hearing that down under accent because it is usually masked beneath something else. His role in the movie was all over the place, but his accent was on point.
Roommate banter: For some reason I had forgotten how funny Jonah Hill can be--and more importantly, how funny and oddly cute Jason Schwartzman really is--and this film really highlighted both actors. Is Jonah Hill really just the fatter version of Seth Rogen? Who cares...he's funny as hell.
Yo Teach: Now I'm sure I've seen this sitcom before. Maybe it's the culmination of the crap that's been on TV in the past five years. I just love how everyone--even Apatow's real-life children--can see how pathetic that show really is, and I enjoyed how they played on that in the movie. And yes, if the show really existed I would probably watch the pilot episode.
Real-life standup: The footage of old-school Adam Sandler stand-up comedy was hilarious and some of the best scenes in the movie. Even though all the stand-up jokes on screen weren't the funniest, they were endearing because I felt like I understood the characters and where their brand of humor developed. It was like "The Chappelle Show" all over again.
The seriousness of it all: And since this movie had a more serious plot than other Apatow films, I will address that I liked the duality between comedy and drama. It did seem like the first 70 minutes were prepped for dry humor, witty one-liners and the usual left-field antics; while the second half of the movie was caked with relationship drama, uneasy comedy, and awkward situations. You spend more than two hours going through Adam Sandler's struggle with not only his disease but with himself, and you're not exaclty sure where he's at by the end of it all. But what makes this all work and come together is that it's entertaining.
And in the form of Shakespeare: comedies end with life and dramas end with death. So I suppose that "Funny People" was a comedy after all. And although it will not go down in history as Judd Apatow's funniest film to date, it still had many elements to make it an overall good movie with great acting. It delivered.