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With: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, RZA, Aziz Ansari, Torsten Voges, Allan Wasserman, Rod Man, Wayne Federman, Mike O'Connell, James Taylor, Nicole Ari Parker, Nydia McFadden, Andy Dick, Charles Fleischer, Paul Reiser, George Wallace, Norm MacDonald, Sarah Silverman, Eminem, Ray Romano
Written by: Judd Apatow
Directed by: Judd Apatow
MPAA Rating: R for language and crude sexual humor throughout, and some sexuality
Running Time: 146
Date: 07/20/2009

Funny People (2009)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Comedy Is Not Healthy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Adam Sandler knocks one out of the park with his rich performance in a role that could be called fictional autobiography. He plays George Simmons, a famous comedian and star of many stupid, but beloved Hollywood comedies. When he discovers that he has a rare form of leukemia, he hires a young up-and-coming stand-up comic, Ira Wright (Seth Rogen), to be his gag-writer and personal assistant. Over the course of the film, they become each other's only true friend. The main problem is that writer/director Judd Apatow has turned in a behemoth of a movie, running far too long and throwing in too many subplots. To start, George becomes obsessed with winning back his only real love, Laura (Leslie Mann), who is married with kids. Then we get tons of footage of Ira's funny roommates, Mark (Jason Schwartzman), who works on a popular sitcom, and Leo (Jonah Hill), who has begun to get regular work as a comedian. It's all topped off with many, many star cameos (Paul Reiser, Eminem, etc.), all of which basically serve to illustrate just how famous George really is. None of this serves to enrich the Ira character, much, however. We're never really sure why they connected in the first place, and their relationship never goes very deep. Not to mention that the entire movie takes place in the world of celebrity and showbiz and lacks any of the regular guy vibe that drove The 40 Year-Old Virgin or Knocked Up. On the plus side, however, it's very funny -- in a superficial way -- all the way through. Eric Bana is very funny as Laura's husband.

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