Funny People

Funny People is an interesting, weird and bizarre movie. It's not necessary unlike anything Judd Apatow has done before, but it's certainly different and stand apart.

Slice of Life

Judd Apatow's strength has been his ability to translate real life on screen. From the teenagers in Freaks and Geeks, to the freshmen in Undeclared, to the young adults in Knocked Up... from the awkward to the serious, Apatow has covered a wide range of emotions in his body of work. So, it stands to reason that several emotions would affect the audience and hit rather close to home.

Freaks and Geeks detailed several aspects of my life, past and present, which made me painfully curious to watch. One of my friends found Knocked Up difficult to watch as it detailed a life that would have been his. Read all about it in these two horribly written and awkward blog posts from 2 years ago: Oct 27th 2007, Oct 28th 2007.

These movies and TV shows demand your attention if you've lived these lives, but can lose your attention if you haven't. Funny People certainly didn't lose my attention, but it showcased lives that were not mine. So, it didn't affect me the way Freaks and Geeks mirrored my soul.


So much of a comedian's life is in this film. Between Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler, they could put a real-life name to every character. The experiences they've shared living together in Los Angeles and performing comedy at The Improv must've given them a wealth of stories for inspiration in a lot of the film's plot.

Seth Rogen's character, Ira Wright, is most likely based on Judd Apatow's struggle to be a successful stand up comedian. He writes some pretty good jokes, but he's not very confident and they come out awkward. His friends and roommates find successes in their careers, but he's left behind. This was probably the exact setting in the mid to late 80s for Apatow and Sandler. They probably had 3 or 4 years before Sandler was discovered in 1990 and hired in New York for Saturday Night Live.

Ira's luck changes when a famous comedian stumble's upon his act.  Recognized for his writing talents, he's hired to write some jokes. The same thing happened to Judd Apatow when Roseanne Barr caught his act in the late 80s. I'd like to see that movie! But, in Ira's case it is George Simmons, Adam Sandler's character.

George Simmons is a movie star, whose life has become empty with success. He doesn't speak with his family, he has no close friends, and un-married, which doesn't describe Adam Sandler at all (from what I can tell, anyways). George Simmons has made an onslaught of terrible embarrassing movies which define his career. Adam Sandler has made some bad movies, but not as embarrassing as some of his colleagues, especially his pal Rob Schneider. Though, Adam Sandler plays George Simmons as himself. The way he talks and does comedy is all Sandler.


An actual piece of Adam Sandler's reality placed in the film are groupies. Now a days, Sandler has probably given up sex with random women, but after Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, he couldn't get rid of the amount of women at his doorstep.

This is shown in the film when Sandler and Seth Rogen pick up two girls at some Hollywood party. Sandler fucks one girl.  As Rogen fails with the other one, Sandler fucks her too.   He remarks on his behavior as it being easy for him, "These girls want to fulfill their fantasy to fuck a movie star, and I take advantage of that. It doesn't matter because they always leave unsatisfied." It's kinda like Sandler is apologizing to all the girls he took advantage of before his marriage.

I think this is true because this is the second instance Movie Star Groupies has come up between Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow. Sandler guest starred in an episode of Undeclared where he did the exact same thing. Though, in the context of the show, it was much more flattering for Sandler at the time.  Especially since he wasn't married at the time.

Juxtaposition and age

Funny People bounces back and forth between Seth Rogen and Adam Sandler equally. Seth Rogen experiences the beginning of a comedian's career, while Adam Sandler experiences the end, so to speak. When Seth Rogen is thrust into the celebrity life style, he's shocked and amazed at all the perks and treats. Adam Sandler just shrugs it off because this is his life. He's the icon and that how he lives.

Adam Sandler begins showing his age and comments how the comedic life style is a young person's game. If you have the talent, you will get discovered and you will thrive. Horrible comedians don't last very long in the beginning.  Comedians make almost no money doing stand up, and that life style weeds out the poor comedians pretty quickly. You must put yourself through this hell so you can emerge victorious.

Being able to laugh at your situation is your muse. And that ability is used quite often in Funny People, almost always at the sacrifice of good film making.

Technical Failure?

The pacing of Funny People is a horrible mess. Serious scenes are often interrupted and almost ruined by the diversion of comedy. For most of the movie, it's almost as if they had an outline of the plot and story, and then just filled in all the blanks while recording.

The interruptions aren't necessarily unwarranted. A lot the abrupt comedy is presented as a coping mechanism to deal with the weight of the situation or bring the atmosphere back to something they're used to. They are "Funny People" after all, so it makes sense that they'd deal with seriousness in a funny way.

From a technical standpoint, it makes the movie difficult to watch because it's constantly trying to be two movies at once. There were point I thought were funny, but didn't know if I was supposed to laugh or if they were trying to be funny. It's really confusing...


But overall, Funny People really stuck with me. So much of Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler are in the film. It's hard not to like the honesty and reality. Adam Sandler is great in the film and the supporting cast is hilarious.

At 2 hours 15 minutes, it is a little long though. As the film rounded the 2 hour mark, I was wondering when they were going to end it. Is this the end? nope.. Is this the end? nope... They did end on a good note though. ^_^

Definitely check it out if you're a fan of the Apatow crew.

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