As I walked out of the theater after seeing Funny People, I felt a little let down by this sloppy addition to Judd Apatow’s empire. Based on what my fellow audience members were mumbling, most of us seemed to agree. It was funny, but man was it way too long; both obviously and painfully so. It was as if after the production wrapped, the editor had a dilemma on their hands, and this is what I could discern from the movie. There are all these moments that should have been trimmed for time, but when the final edit came to be they couldn’t decide what should go, so they just stuck it all in. Because of this, it was almost like this whole film was a montage sequence, a collage of some of comedies finest moments.
But that didn’t cover it for me. Another description I could come up with was this: if one were to list the plot points of a movie, assign them to different parts of a Venn diagram, and then film that, this movie would be the result. In other words, I felt like I had watched two different movies, with few details that can be found in both. It starts out as this humorous buddy comedy between three roommates (Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman), with a parallel story moving along involving Adam Sandler’s character. These eventually cross paths, and does so cleanly when Rogan and Sandler become friends, more or less. That was not too hard to handle. However, an hour into the film they decide to introduce the girl that got away (Leslie Mann), moving the film to her house, and thus, moving it to what felt like a separate story. The roommates were lost, and going with them was a lot of my interest (especially because the standout performance of this movie goes to Jonah Hill).
In order to make this a better film it needs to be trimmed down and edited so that the story actually becomes the focal point, and not comedy itself. Unless that is the goal all along. If so, then scrap the story all together and just compile all the footage of these comedians doing what they do best. For starters the cameos in this film went far into the double digits (though can I ask what Eminem was doing in this? Not only was that weird on its own, but even his dialog was awkward, even if he did get a laugh for berating Ray Romano). Then there is a lot of Adam Sandler just being Adam Sandler with his strangely similar impressions of different (?) people and weird noises that seem to be found in every one of his films. To top it all off, there are stand up routines. Once all of this footage is combined, sell it as a comedy piece all on its own, put it on Comedy Central, or just pile it in the bonus features; just don’t try to make it into something its not.
Final Grade: C-