Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Funny People

From the creators of 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, you sort of expect this to be a laugh-out-loud movie, but it’s not. It is, though, a great movie. You can really see an evolution between this and the other two movies. Virgin was very much a juvenile movie. You’ve got knee slappers and LOLs. Knocked Up was a bit more grown up, few if any knee slappers, but it was still a very funny movie. This one, though, was a very adult comedy.

There’s a very sad and heart-wrenching story behind all the stand up and jokes. Adam Sandler brings it. He does all the stuff that makes his other movies juvenile and stupid, but it’s very meta here, a really incredible performance. It’s like seeing Steve Martin in Parenthood, Jim Carey in Man in the Moon, or Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. I know there were a couple of serious movies before this, I didn’t see those. Sometimes you get wary when a known comedian goes in a different direction. This is a good transition movie for Sandler. He’s a comedian, and yes, he’s pretty funny at times, but there’s this subtext. No matter what he’s doing, you can see it in the way he walks, in his face, in everything he does.

Seth Rogen didn’t really do it for me in any serious scenes. His stand-up scenes are great, and they feel natural, but his serious scenes with Sandler didn’t work. The restaurant scene was particularly brutal, and not because of the subject matter. He cries. It’s hideous. Same with writer/director Judd Apatow’s wife Leslie Mann.

The cameos are great. A ton of comedians show up, including Sarah Silverman, Paul Riser, Andy Dick and others. One of the best (and slightly surreal) exchanges is between Eminem and Ray Romano. Yeah, Eminem. And James Taylor gets to toss out a dick joke. Jason Schwartzman and Jonah Hill are great in their sidekick roles.

This is a very adult comedy with equal parts humor, heart and pathos. I highly recommend it. And as a little bonus, here's a deleted scene from the movie. If you're reading this on Facebook, visit my blog to watch the clip.

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