Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Funny People, Seriously Funny Movie
Whenever someone hears the name Judd Apatow, they assume something side-splittingly funny is about to happen. And while Apatow's name may have become synonymous with hysterics, that's not always the case. After all, there's an exception to every rule. But what happens when a film created by "America'a Funniest Producer" is neither hysterical nor dead-pan serious? Lines get blurred, critics bicker, and audiences across America feel betrayed. Why, you ask? Beats me.
Those expecting the traditional model of Apatow films found themselves a bit surprised this go-round. Funny People is not a relationship comedy in the way that The 40-Year Old Virign and Knocked Up were. While those two films dealt mostly with men and their relationships with women, Funny People did just the opposite focusing on a man's internal struggle, and coming to grips with one's own mortality.
The film has gotten very mixed reviews, which surprises me. I gather that most people just don't get the movie, or want to seem like they are in the know and hate it cause everybody else did. But for me, this is Apatow's best film so far. Quite frankly each one gets better and better. I fell asleep the first time I saw The 40-Year Old Virgin. I laughed and cried when I saw Knocked Up. And I legitimately thought about my life after Funny People came to a close.
In some metaphorical way, this could very easily be Apatow's last film. I won't be, but it could be. If you think about they way each of his projects work, it kind of makes sense. Virgin was about a man finally becoming a man. Knocked Up took it one step further: a man making a family, finding a purpose. In that regard, Funny People is the perfect bookend film: an old man looking back on his wild life to determine his legacy and realize what's really important when you go. SPOILER: It's not your stuff, it's the memories you make and the people you make them with.
And that's really all there is to say about the film in a general sense. I hate writing about specifics cause then I am implying that each of you that reads this has already seen it. I will say one thing though. For the first time in ages I was actually quite pleased with Jonah Hill's performance. While he is typically just one note for me, his "one note" fits this film so brilliantly it's hard to tell if he's even acting. It was refreshing. Jason Schwartzman echoes the same performance, and for those of you who don't live in Hollywood and chase the entertainment dream, Hill and Schwartzman are the perfect archetypes of guys we hate out here: pretentious douche bags who want nothing more than their own glory. They exist in poignant dichotomy to what the A-plot of the film is. Go figure.
Funny People is in theaters everywhere. EVERYWHERE!