Monday, August 3, 2009

Tinseltown Movie Meal

This past Saturday I attended the 10:45am showing of "Funny People", starring Adam Sandler. It was a welcome break in my weekend - a movie for only five-bucks, on my own. I originally planned to go it alone but ended up asking a few friends, none of whom could make it. Fine by me! Ha!

I bought my ticket, got my "Movie Meal" (kids sized popcorn, small soda and a sour straw), found my seat, and settled in as the previews began to roll...

To start with, I walked into this movie with very little knowledge about it. It wasn't until halfway through that I realized that wow, this could be a really long flick. Two-and-a-half hours long, to be exact. When I stepped out of the darkened theatre and into the ridiculously bright sunshine, I knew I'd skipped the noon-hour completely.

Overall, I was satisfied with the movie. I didn't walk in with high hopes (mostly because I didn't know much about it) so there was no way, really, for me to be disappointed. I was, however, troubled by the disjointed sequence of the storyline. It was almost as if the movie itself suffered a small seizure and completely changed course halfway through.

'Funny People' is the story of George (Adam Sandler), a very wealthy and famous comedian. George finds out that he has a blood disease that is more than likely going to kill him in a short amount of time. Having heard this news he embarks on a journey of returning to stand-up comedy. The jokes are at some points incredibly dark and very reflective of the emotional roller coaster that he is on.

Along the way, he stumbles upon Ira (Seth Rogan). Ira is an endearing character who you fall in love with immediately. Ira lives with 2 roommates who are breaking through as actors and comedians in their own right. Meanwhile, Ira is struggling to find his place in the world of comedy, but it's just not working for him.

Enter George. George, faced with his death, takes Ira under his wing. George hires Ira to basically be his friend and to write jokes for him. From this, a true friendship evolves as Ira teaches George the value of real life, family and friends - and George mentors Ira in the art of bringing laughter into people's lives.

Adam and Seth have an amazing chemistry in this movie. Their characters are believable, easy to relate to, and real. The entire first have of the movie is an extremely witty banter between the two, with clips of stand-up gigs that range from awkward, to dark, to just plain funny. It is not just your typical cheesy attempt at getting a laugh. The jokes and situations are so real that you understand what is going on at such a deeper level then just the surfacey easy-to-win laughter. Maybe it's because I have faced cancers several times with friends and family members, but I can definitely say that the intro to 'Funny People' is raw, real, and funny.

Then the second half appears on the scene and slaps you in the face. What the? Where did you come from? It's as if the writer went on vacation and had someone else finish the story, without even telling them about the origins. All of the sudden there is a shift that occurs. No longer are we watching the chemistry of George and Ira, but now George is thrown into an incredibly desperate attempt at winning back the love of his life. Scene after long annoying scene of a very pathetic George living vicariously through this other man who has married and had children with his ex.

I understood it all, I guess, but it still didn't mesh with the sheer awesomeness of the first portion. Plus, I was pulled out of the movie several times at that point. I like movies to keep me. I found the time focused on his ex-love to be too lengthy and drawn-out unnecessarily.

Somewhere in there we see Ira emerge, with lessons learned. George learns the importance of family and not being so cynical about everything. And in the end we're back to comedy and real life.

All in all, I found this movie to be a pretty good flick. Would I say that you HAVE to see it on the big screen? No. But, if you have a few hours and want to escape your day - and have a few good laughs, then go see it. If not, rent it.

Remember, it's a movie about comedians, so sexual jokes and references are a given. Odds are that this one will end up in my DVD collection at some point. Not a 'Billy Madison' of Adam Sandler's, but definitely no 'Little Nicky' either!


Lily Cate said...

So, to sum up, it would have been a pleasantly bittersweet little romp if Judd Apatow had not decided to try and shoehorn his wife in a the 60 min. mark?

Legdahli said...

Well put! ;)