Tag Archives: judd apatow

FUNNY PEOPLE Is Only Funny In That It Isn’t

A source of mine recently attended a screening of Funny People and sent me the following appraisal. Since I don’t intend to see this movie, I’m posting my source’s assessment but with this caveat: While he said it looked and sounded finished, with titles and music in place, there’s still a possibility this is NOT the final version to be released July 31.

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I am not a fan of Adam Sandler or Seth Rogen, but I am a Judd Apatow fan. The trailer for this film actually made me laugh out loud enough to check out a screening. Now I want my time back.

It starts out all right. We see George Simmons (Adam Sandler) being recognized and amiably posing with a number of fans while on his way to see his doctor. He mugs, he cajoles, he’s the hilarious nice guy and uber-comedian. He’s like Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais and, well, Adam Sandler all rolled into one. Then we see him getting the bad news that he has an incurable disease.

a sandler and srDevastated and devoid of any true friends he can talk to, he seeks out the group hug he knows he can only get from a live audience. So he heads back to his roots in stand-up comedy for that feeling of adoration and comfort. Enter Ira Wright (Seth Rogen).

Ira is a down-on-his-luck, unfunny comedian dreaming of a better life and trying desperately to come up with better material. George, remembering what life was like before he made it big, decides to give Ira a shot at the big time by hiring him to write a few jokes for an upcoming MySpace gig. Thus, George gets to do something good and just might make a much needed friend in the process.

The story gets mired in multiple plotlines that do nothing to move it forward. It’s like one big improv, but someone forgot to set the ground rules to give it shape and direction. Could it be Apatow was overwhelmed by his cast?

lm & asAnd it’s a great cast. Not only do Apatow regulars Jonah Hill, Leslie Mann and Jason Schwartzman appear, so do James Taylor, Ray Romano, Norm MacDonald and Sarah Silverman, just to name a few. Eminem also shows up to do a rant that might now be familiar to those who saw him straddled by Brüno at the MTV Movie Awards. It has nothing to do with the film’s storyline and is just one of many moments where the movie loses focus.

I think the problem is there’s too much talent and not enough plot to go around. I shuddered while viewing the end credits, seeing names of all the people who must’ve been cut out of this movie. Don’t know if they’re going to be reinserted but I’m feeling it might be better to wait for the DVD, which must have a goldmine of extended scenes and outtakes.

Reviews of New Movie Trailers

These movies won’t be out for at least a couple of months but trailers are available so I thought I’d review them. Trailers are an art in their own right—they only have a few seconds to grab you by the throat and make you want to start saving up for that $12 ticket and $10 bucket of corn. Take a look by clicking on each title and let me know if they succeeded.

2009_public_enemies_0013Public Enemies — July 1. The trailer just became available and it looks slick and sexy. Johnny Depp as John Dillinger is being chased by Christian Bale as Melvin Purvis but makes time to flirt with the slinky Marion Cotillard. Somewhere admidst all the gunfire Dr. Manhattan—er, Billy Crudup—shows up, too. Rating: Hot.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past — May 1. Why do people continue to give Matthew McConaughey leading roles? When was the last time he made a good movie and/or showed any kind of acting chops? Failure to Launch? Ha! Fool’s Gold? Please. Here, he plays a womanizing jerk who’s about to ruin his brother’s wedding until ghosts of girlfriends past pay him a visit to teach him about true love. Oy. The beautiful and talented Jennifer Garner is too good for him. I’d be watching the movie, yelling, “No, Jen, move along! He’s an idiot!” so what would be the point? Incidentally, many years ago, Disney almost made this movie with Garner’s hubby, Ben Affleck (Garner wasn’t attached), but then pulled the plug on it. New Line probably should’ve let Ghosts stay dead. Rating: Sucks Dirt.

2009_funny_people_wallpaper_001Funny People — July 31. The Apatow Dumpling Gang is all here—wife Leslie Mann, kids Iris and Maude, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill—in Judd’s third feature as director. Add Adam Sandler as a stand-up comic who learns he might be dying. Unfortunately, I feel as if I’ve seen the whole movie from the trailer and wasn’t that amused by it. Apatow said he wanted to make a serious film “that is twice as funny as my other movies.” I think he succeeded with the serious, but the funny remains to be seen. Rating: Okay. (UPDATE: Here’s a pseudo-review by a source of mine who attended a screening.)

Angels & DemonsMay 15. Tom Hanks is back as Robert Langdon with only slightly better hair. I thought The Da Vinci Code was unwatchable but this trailer looks kinda tight. Rome is one of my favorite cities so seeing it used as a backdrop increased my interest a little (didn’t read Dan Brown’s book; don’t plan to). Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard and Armin Mueller-Stahl also pop up, looking very intense and/or evil. Rating: Good.

b-pittInglorious Basterds — Aug. 21.  I thought this trailer was hilarious and am not sure whether Tarantino intended it that way. But watching Brad Pitt say, “I want my scalps!” in his Southern accent and then Hitler throwing a fit, yelling, “Nein, nein, nein, nein, nein, nein!” made me laugh. I’m not sold on what seems to be an ultra-violent movie (I ran screaming from the room during the ear-cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs) but the trailer was amusing. Rating: Good.

The Taking of Pelham 123 — June 12. John Travolta’s baddie and Denzel Washington’s good guy go head to head in matching goatees, with Travolta taking hostages on a subway for ransom. Looks like lots of action, which is expected in a Tony Scott movie, but it all looked generic. Nothing stood out as awe-inspiring like, say, last year’s Wanted trailer, which showcased craaazy, mind-blowing stunts with Angelina Jolie in a red sports car and a guy who jumped out a window at the camera, his face a mask of broken glass pieces. Rating: Okay.

So, you excited about any of these? What are you saving up your loose couch change for?