Thursday, August 20, 2009

Funny People Not Funny

You hear the name Judd Apatow, most likely you're recalling at least one of the funny movies he's responsible for. I mean, sure Knocked Up, while being funny, was also a treatise on the vast disparity between men and women sometimes. But by and large, it was funny. That's what one comes to expect from him.

Funny People was distinctly not funny.

That said, it was one of the most real and poignant commentaries on the state of Hollywood of any movie out there. It really left me thinking deeply afterwards (as Knocked Up did as well). This is the sign of a great movie. I just wish it wasn't so disturbing.

Adam Sandler, who shows he can really touch those dramatic heartstrings, and that he's maybe lived a few of these moments himself, stars as the super famous comedian lead. You see him walk through his day: signing autographs, taking pictures with fans. Then, finding out he's dying.

You see him chewing on this information as he walks through his humongous gilt laden castle of a home. It is the soul of the artist laid bare, and it's painful to watch, frankly. We wanna see our comedians make us laugh. We don't wanna see their angst-ridden crisis of conscience as he looks around and finds no friends or family around him.

What evolves is that he takes a struggling comedian under his wing and we have a sometimes funny buddy picture with the two of them. But what remains and runs like a scathing current throughout is the real fact that while his comedy is top-notch, his people skills are not. His whole life has been in service of the funny, and along the way he kinda neglected the whole wife-family-kids thing.

It ends, as you'd expect it to, on a note of hope. But along the way, you are walking through this man's sad, sad life. It's very real, very inside Hollywood. Just probably not a place many want to stay for very long.

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