Funny People presented me with a dilemma going in.
On the one hand, I was a fan of writer-director-producer Judd Apatow and his muse, Seth Rogen.
On the other hand, I've rarely found Adam Sandler funny. I recognize that there's an entire generation that regards Sandler as a comic god; I would submit that they worship a false deity.
Still, I never would have predicted that, at the end of Funny People, I'd have more kind things to say about Sandler than Apatow.
Having reeled off a string of hits as a director or producer (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Adventureland, Pineapple Express), Apatow apparently has reached an exalted state where no one in Hollywood questions his judgment about the movies he makes (despite the fact that Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin were both 20 minutes too long). He also seems to have started believing his own press about being the preeminent fount of comedy in the modern world, infallibly in touch with the zeitgeist (OK, maybe not infallibly; otherwise, how to explain Year One, Step Brothers and Drillbit Taylor?).
So, naturally, this is the moment he decided to make his comedy epic, the movie he apparently has been dying to make. It can't just be a standard movie -- it's got to be big enough to encompass all of Apatow's many great thoughts.
As a result, Funny People is 146 minutes, approximately the same length as Transformers 2, Harry Potter 6 and Public Enemies, the summer's longest films. Unfortunately, it runs out of laughs after about an hour -- and out of inspiration after 90 minutes. That leaves another hour to fill -- and filler is what we get.
For the rest of this review, click here to reach my website: www.hollywoodandfine.com.
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