Funny People lasts a torturous 2 hours and 26 minutes and and most of the time doesn’t even know if it wants to be a drama or a comedy.
It is set in the world of American stand up. George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is a comedy actor who is diagnosed with leukemia but then takes experimental drugs and makes a miraculous recovery . He shares the ups and downs of his illness with a budding comic Ira Wright (Seth Logan) who he employs to write jokes for him and keep him company.
This relationship makes for a buddy movie of sorts. At one point Simmons tells Ira – “I have no close friends, you’re the closest friend I have and I don’t even like you”. Ira tells George he’s the only person he’s met who has learned nothing from a near death experience.
The movie features a bunch of guys playing themselves who are probably well-known to an American audience but for a limey like me, I only knew Eminem and James Taylor.
The stand-up routines rely heavily on fart or cock jokes and are very lame. The script too often mistakes crudity for ‘humour’ .
The high level self-indulgence extends to director Judd Apatow casting his wife (Leslie Mann) and kids which drags the film out needlessly. 45 minutes shorter would have made for a much tighter movie but not any funnier or more dramatic.
What the movie tells us is no particularly mind blowing and can be summarised as follows:
- Being a comedian is a serious business.
- Getting rich and famous means you get laid a lot but fucks up your social life.
AMS rating (out of 10) – 3
Lame-o-meter rating – High.