By Heather Fiore
When Adam Sandler comes to mind, it’s hard to imagine anything but comedy. Well, viewers will be surprised — and they’ll laugh so hard they may shed a few tears — when watching the new movie he stars in.
Funny People, directed by Judd Apatow, stays true to its comedic plot but cleverly mixes a dramatic aspect as well, which makes all the difference. And although it stretches the boundaries by running a little longer than most comedies at 145 minutes, it’s easy to stay comfortable in your seat.
Funny People, starring Sandler (Reign Over Me), Seth Rogen (Pineapple Express) and Leslie Mann (17 Again), is a dramatic comedy that follows the tumultuous life of Sandler’s character, George Simmons. George, an extremely successful comedian and actor, lives a comfortable life but possesses negative qualities that make his life very lonely. Overly vain, estranged and negligent of his family, George finds out that he has a rare blood disorder that will likely kill him, which sends him into a deep depression.
Looking back on old recordings and memories of when he first began his career as a stand-up comedian, George finds inner peace which ultimately solidifies his decision to return to the stand-up comedy scene. At the same time, Ira Wright (Rogen), a deli worker and aspiring stand-up comedian who lives on his friend’s couch, tries to improve his “wannabe” life. When George and Ira meet for the first time, George finds himself oddly interested in Ira’s underestimated talent. He recruits Ira as his joke writer and personal assistant and an amusing relationship flourishes between the two.
While George allowed himself to lose the “love of his life,” Laura (Mann), because of his career, he contacts her over a decade after their breakup. Laura, who is now married to a macho, successful and good-looking Australian businessman, Clarke (Eric Bana, Munich), reminisces with George about old times and starts to rebuild their friendship. George looks to confide in Laura, which he feels he can still do. Since Laura and Ira are the only “real” friends George possesses, he views them as his support group.
Throughout George’s life in Funny People, Apatow has not only rejuvenated Sandler’s comedic persona, but he has managed to highlight the talent of new acting sensation Seth Rogen.
Sandler, noted mainly for his highly comedic roles, has certainly displayed his aptitude for acting in this movie. It seemed like he wasn’t trying to be George; rather, he naturally encompassed his character.
Rogen, who has dramatically slimmed down, not only debuts a new look, but the actual talent he exudes as an actor, opposed to the “buddy” character he usually plays in movies, is revealed. In this movie, the audience is able to see another side to Rogen, perhaps owing to the fact that he has proved himself in the acting world lately.
Also, with the newly popular dynamic duo, Rogen and Jonah Hill (Superbad), who have appeared in recent comedies together such as Knocked Up and Superbad, Apatow has succeeded in accenting their abilities to comically feed off of each other.
Up-and-coming actor Aziz Ansari (I Love You, Man) and Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore) also appear in the film.
Apatow has surely made a name for himself in the comedy world. Stay tuned for what comes next.
Funny People will play tonight and Saturday, Oct. 24, in the BLC Theater at 7:30 p.m.