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Funny People (DVD)
Member Name: sunmeilan
Funny People (DVD)
Date: 14/09/09, updated on 14/09/09 (107 review reads)
Advantages: Funny, sensitive, I love Seth Rogen
Disadvantages: Could do with being a bit shorter
I knew I had to see this film as soon as it was advertised, for the very simple reason that I adore Seth Rogen and everything that he has done. I'm not so keen on Adam Sandler - I think he can be incredibly bland at times - but thought it was worth the sacrifice, especially with Judd Apatow at the helm. And actually, I thought Adam Sandler (as George Simmons) was very good in this film - I would say it is one of his best performances. For once, there is some depth to his character, particularly with the whole dying thing, and I think he handled it incredibly well. George isn't a particularly likeable character, at least not at the beginning - he is selfish and knows his money will get him what he wants - but the life-changing experience of his illness does bring out the best in him, and by the end of the film, I found myself wishing him well. I give kudos to Adam Sandler for taking on a more mature role, albeit it still with plenty of crude humour at times.
Seth Rogen is adorable as Ira Wright, and I think that even those who don't usually like his type of humour will find him so. Although his brand of stand-up nearly always involves talking about sexual organs, he is hopeless at hooking up with women, particularly the one he really likes. And it is very obvious that Ira comes to see George as more than just a boss and really struggles with the idea that George is going to die. Rogen looks totally at ease throughout the whole film - perhaps because he really does see Adam Sandler as someone to look up to? - and he had great camaraderie with his flat-mates (played by Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman) as well. His character doesn't grow quite as much as Sandler's does, but he still does very well in the role and has convinced me that he deserves his current stature in Hollywood. Purely superficially, he has recently lost a lot of weight and it really suits him.
The weak link in the film comes in the form of Leslie Mann as Laura, the love of George's life. She is truly beautiful, but just didn't seem to be all that comfortable in a comic role. At one point, she goes off on a rant directed at her Australian husband and brings out the weirdest accents - I think they were supposed to be British and Irish, but quite what the point was I didn't understand - especially as her husband seemed to think she was taking the mickey out of his Australian accent. She doesn't give a dreadful performance, but it certainly isn't of the same quality as her counterparts. Eric Bana as her husband is also slightly dodgy - his role was quite humorous, but it felt a little too forced for his own good. Jud Apatow's children play Laura's children and do a surprisingly good job - cute without being pretentious.
The film is classed as a comedy and it certainly does have its laughs. However, there is an underlying current of drama as well, and this really made the film for me. It wasn't too soppy, just the right amount of thought-provoking content to make me come out of the film believing I had seen something worthwhile. The humour is exactly the type of humour that I enjoy - it is highly crude at times, so it won't appeal to everyone, but if that is your sort of thing, there are plenty of laughs to be had. However, if you go into the film expecting it to be laugh after laugh, you may be disappointed. There are times when the humour is kept to a minimum while George struggles to come to terms with his condition and the fact that he has made a mess of his life. I suppose it depends what you want to get out of the film, but I suspect that it will appeal more to those in their thirties and above rather than a younger audience.
As well as the sexual humour, there are a couple of sex scenes - involving George, poor Ira doesn't get any - and although not terribly graphic, they are very crude. We had been considering sneaking my friend's ten year old daughter in (we were literally the only people in the cinema!), but were incredibly glad afterwards that we didn't - it really would not have been appropriate, even though I doubt that she would have understood much of the sexual jokes. The rating is 15 and I think that it is definitely needed - in some respects, it perhaps ought to be an 18. Obviously, that is up to parents. We had a fifteen year old with us and I think he was a little embarrassed at times.
There isn't all that much to say about the cinematography. Much of the film is spent in one house or another, interspersed with stand-up comedy venues. However, it does come across as well-made and I thought the cameramen caught the expressions on Sandler's and Rogen's faces perfectly - Seth Rogen does a strange thing with his eyebrows that always makes me laugh.
Apart from Leslie Mann, the only other disadvantage with the film for me was the length. It is nearly two and a half hours long. I didn't find myself fidgeting and checking my watch, but there was a point when I began to wonder when it was going to finish. There is a section of the film that is spent in Laura's house, and this was the part that I thought could have been shortened by about twenty minutes. However, I do understand why Apatow kept it to the length that it is - it is mostly necessary for the story. Just be prepared that, if you are going to see it in the cinema, you realise how long it is before you go. Personally, I think that it would be a perfect length if watched on DVD so that it can be paused every now and again.
The film is only just out in cinemas at the moment, therefore I can't comment on any extras with the DVD - this is a film only review.
This isn't going to be a film for everyone. If you don't like crude humour, you will want to stay well clear. And even if you do like crude humour, you may not like the more sensitive parts of the film. Personally though, I really enjoyed it. The performances were generally of a very high quality and I liked the whole moral of the story - basically that people are more important that money and possessions. Recommended.
The DVD is currently not available to pre-order, so I have no idea of the price, but imagine it will be around the £12 mark.
Running time: 146 minutes
Summary: Not for everyone, but I really liked it