Funny People

Movie Information

The Story: A rich and famous comic finds he has an almost certainly fatal disease and starts exploring his life. The Lowdown: An overlong, plodding movie that lurches from scene to scene with fewer and fewer laughs and debatable depth.
Score:

Genre: Comedy/Drama
Director: Judd Apatow (Knocked Up)
Starring: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Jason Schwartzman, Jonah Hill, Eric Bana
Rated: R

I won’t deny that Judd Apatow’s Funny People is interesting—so are fires, floods, pestilence and certain pathological disorders. When I first sat through the film—all 146 minutes of it—my first thought was that it might have been pretty good if about 40 minutes were hacked out. The more I think about it, I’m sure that would help, but it wouldn’t change the basic distaste I feel for this dithering comedy/drama that contains not a single character actually worth caring about. This last might work in a bleakly comic manner if Funny People didn’t insist that we feel something for the characters—when, apart from being glad that I don’t have to endure them in real life, I felt nothing.

The term “self-indulgent” always strikes me as weak criticism, if not outright wrongheaded. Supposing that we are dealing with someone out to create something for reasons beyond sheer commercial success, the act of that creation is self-indulgent on some level. By their very natures, artists are indulging themselves, their concerns, their interests—usually with the idea (and occasionally delusion) that others might find their preoccupations interesting, too. However, Apatow’s film deserves the term in all its negative import—in a way I’ve not encountered since Bob Dylan’s Renaldo and Clara (1978) in all its original 292-minute glory. (And that had the good taste not to insinuate itself into a wide release.)

There are long, long stretches of Funny People that go nowhere and serve no discernible purpose—apart from the fact that Apatow apparently couldn’t bring himself to let them end up on the cutting-room floor. The home-movie-camcorder footage of a young Sandler making spectacularly unfunny prank calls sets the tone that this is largely a home movie that got out of hand and into multiplexes. Endless digressions into scenes involving stand-up comics getting together add an inordinate amount of footage devoted to undistinguished and not very funny stand-up routines. There’s also a peculiar segment with Sandler, Eminem, Ray Romano and Seth Rogen that qualifies somewhere on the weirdness scale close to the scene in the Paul McCartney fiasco Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984) involving Ralph Richardson, Paul and a monkey. (The two scenes actually bear an odd resemblance in tone to one another, since the former partly consists of Eminem giving Sandler a talking-to—a crude variant on what Richardson tells McCartney.) The segment with Eminem goes nowhere, isn’t terribly funny and adds nothing to the film except to illustrate all the famous folks Apatow can corral.

The story line—supposedly daring—is essentially a reshuffling of a stock Sandler shtick, i.e., life-changing event turns self-satisfied/swollen-headed guy into a nicer person. (See also Click (2006) and The Longest Yard (2005).) This round it’s that old chestnut the near-death experience in the guise of a dose of movie-style leukemia that gets sent packing with “experimental” drugs from Canada. It’s life-lesson stuff of a dusty kind that’s made somewhat interesting because Sandler’s character, George Simmons, doesn’t exactly turn around on a dime to become the wiser person who appreciates life.

That’s a plus, but the film really offers very little in addition, beyond an interminable last act involving George’s affair with ex-girlfriend, Laura (real-life Mrs. Apatow, Leslie Mann), who is now married to an annoying caricature Australian, Clarke (Eric Bana), with whom she has two children (played by real-life Apatow offspring, Maude and Iris). The most interesting aspect of this has less to do with the three directly involved than it has to do with the jealousy subtext expressed by Seth Rogen as George’s personal assistant/joke writer/friend Ira.

What Apatow seems to be after with all this is that comics are basically neither happy, nor nice, nor perhaps even capable of happiness. George’s interest in Ira is summed up in his confession to the younger man, “You’re my best friend and I don’t even like you very much.” Ira, on the other hand, probably deserves this, since he willfully cuts his friend Leo (Jonah Hill) out of a chance to write for George. George, on the other hand, tosses a thousand-dollar bonus Ira’s way after a gig—that George receives $300,000 for. These are remarkably ungenerous, frequently unpleasant people, yet we are apparently meant to like them.

There’s also—for me at least—a disconnect with reality to the whole film because it takes place in a world of utterly casual conspicuous consumption. Early on, the narcissistic George is seen in his Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous-esque mansion watching old footage of himself on a bank of flat-screen TV monitors. Similarly, in the film’s last act we find that Clarke has no less than three such TVs affixed to the wall of a room in his house—on which he’s watching the same football game. Who are these people? Why do they live like this—except that they can? What possible connection do they have to anyone’s life except those in their own rarefied circle of the overprivileged? And why should we care? The answer for me is that I don’t care.

Apatow is a major figure in pop culture right now, and Funny People has already taken the box office (albeit not that spectacularly) for its opening weekend. I fully expect to be told that I’m just not “with it” and that this is the last word in edgy filmmaking. The fact is that this is a case where I don’t in the least mind not being “with it.” Rated R for language and crude sexual humor throughout, and some sexuality.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress since December 2000. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

77 thoughts on “Funny People

  1. Steven

    [b] These are remarkably ungenerous, frequently unpleasant people, yet we are apparently meant to like them.[/b]

    This seems to be the case for every film Apatow has directed. I haven’t like any of the characters in his films, especially in [i]The 40 Year Old Virigin[/i].

  2. TonyRo

    this review went predictably…..even if the characters are unpleasent and unlikeable, it’s hard to deny the fact that they had a very natural feel

    my main problem with the movie was the third act and it bugged me until I realized it was aiming for a realistic outcome rather than a sappy, sentimental conclusion

  3. Ken Hanke

    this review went predictably

    You know, we had a bet going as to whether you or Tigershark would show up first with this observation. I guess you win.

    even if the characters are unpleasent and unlikeable, it’s hard to deny the fact that they had a very natural feel

    And the appeal in that is? Why exactly do I want to spent two and a half hours watching these people? What am I getting out of it?

    until I realized it was aiming for a realistic outcome rather than a sappy, sentimental conclusion

    And they’ve replaced it with something that’s still 100% predictable.

  4. TonyRo

    I mean, it’s stupid to argue the point here with you Ken because you have your opinion set and printed for thousands to read now. I respect your views (no matter where your bias lies) and rather enjoy seeing what negative things you can pull out of them…sometimes it makes me look at the movie a little differently the next time I watch it.

    My next prediction: the lavishing praise you’ll throw at the inevitable yet uninspired Tim Burton and Johnny Depp adaptation of Alice in Wonderland next year.

  5. Ken Hanke

    I mean, it’s stupid to argue the point here with you Ken because you have your opinion set and printed for thousands to read now

    But isn’t it just as predictable that you’ll be in the corner of every “edgy” comedy that comes down the pike? Every one comes with baggage to everything they see.

    Now, I actually held out some hope for this — despite not being predisposed to like Adam Sandler and having hated 40 Year Old Virgin and only thinking Knocked Up was OK at best. I thought maybe this was going to evidence a more mature Apatow and that possibly Sandler was in something like Punch-Drunk Love territory. What I got was Sandler proving that he’s a cold performer who’s believable as a jerk and non-stop penis jokes.

    My next prediction: the lavishing praise you’ll throw at the inevitable yet uninspired Tim Burton and Johnny Depp adaptation of Alice in Wonderland next year.

    Your own bias shows pretty strongly in your assessment of a film you haven’t seen as “uninspired,” don’t you think?

  6. Ken Hanke

    And, by the bye, Tony, I do respect your opinions and views — something I realize did not come through in that response.

  7. TonyRo

    I’m in the corner of comedy in general, as long as it’s good. Studios haven’t had a clue what’s funny since the 80s. The Waynes Brothers aren’t good…the spoof genre has been lousy since SCARY MOVIE came out. The majority of Independent comedies haven’t been good since SIDEWAYS. Ryan Reynolds and Dane Cook are beyond awful.

    I feel like Apatow and his crew represent a new generation of comedy that I can actually get behind. They respect the people that paved the way for them and FUNNY PEOPLE is prove positive of that. I’m not saying it’s the best comedy of the summer (or this year for that matter), but it is certainly better than say THE PROPOSAL (which you, for some reason awarded 3 stars) and CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC (4 stars from you).

    Also Tim Burton hasn’t shown imagination or development as a filmmaker in any of his films since BIG FISH (and before that ED WOOD).

  8. Ken Hanke

    I’m in the corner of comedy in general, as long as it’s good

    That seems to be where we differ in terms of definition.

    They respect the people that paved the way for them and FUNNY PEOPLE is prove positive of that.

    No, it merely proves that Apatow likes casting his buddies. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I don’t see that it proves anything other than that.

    it is certainly better than say THE PROPOSAL (which you, for some reason awarded 3 stars) and CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC (4 stars from you).

    As a matter of curiosity, did you actually see either of those movies? Regardless, they’re not quite the same thing. You’re comparing two different kind of films. I have no fondness for The Proposal — it’s about 55% okay — though I do think that Shopaholic is a good movie. From my perspective, however, I’d rather sit through either than Funny People, which I positively detested. If this is the future of comedy, I dread what’s next.

    Also Tim Burton hasn’t shown imagination or development as a filmmaker in any of his films since BIG FISH (and before that ED WOOD).

    It’s an opinion, but not one that I share. Can you actually back it up?

  9. Come_on

    I liked the movie’s personal feel: that much of it is based on Apatow and Sandler’s experience as room mates, and possibly Sandler’s career; that the actors were doing stand-up to real crowds that weren’t told to laugh; that Apatow’s family was involved. But the downside to this is that you have to know about these things to appreciate them, and they don’t make a great movie.

    I also appreciate that Apatow tried to avoid most cliches while softening the necessary ones with a humanistic feel.

    For the most part, I agree with the review. I don’t know who would call Apatow’s movies edgy. I think he takes a unique approach, but again this is based on outside information. I’d give it another half-star. I’m glad that I saw it once. I actually thought the Eminem scene was one of the funniest parts because of how dark and unexpected it was. For a movie where so much had been revealed in promotional material, a surprise like that went a long way.

  10. Come_on

    Also, the winking parody trailers of fake movies weren’t very funny. These are movies that Adam Sandler (or Rob Schneider) might actually do. The only thing that would make them ok is if Adam Sandler’s character looked knowingly into the camera and said, “I’m a changed man. No more shitty movies for me.” You can’t have it both ways.

  11. Come_on

    Also, the winking parody trailers of fake movies weren’t very funny. These are movies that Adam Sandler (or Rob Schneider) might actually do. The only thing that would make them ok is if Adam Sandler’s character looked knowingly into the camera and said, “I’m a changed man. No more shitty movies for me.” You can’t have it both ways.

  12. TigerShark

    >>You know, we had a bet going as to whether you or Tigershark would show up first with this observation. I guess you win.

    I didn’t find your review predictable at all. I expected you to discuss two or three other movies in your opening paragraph, as per your usual practice, before you segued into the movie you were actually supposed to review. You were on topic from the very beginning, so I very likely wouldn’t have made any comment about this review at all if you hadn’t seen fit to drop my name into the conversation.

    But I guess it’s the price of fame.

  13. Ken Hanke

    I also appreciate that Apatow tried to avoid most cliches while softening the necessary ones with a humanistic feel.

    It seems to me that all he did was replace one set of cliches with another. Speaking of softening things, I would have probably liked the film even less, but I might have respected it more if it hadn’t ended in the wholly predictable manner of its final scene.

    I don’t know who would call Apatow’s movies edgy

    Usually it seems to involve people who are impressed by non-stop swearing and penis jokes as daring. I’m not offended by either, but I am quickly bored them.

    These are movies that Adam Sandler (or Rob Schneider) might actually do.

    Let’s face it, there’s not much difference since there wouldn’t be any Rob Schneider pictures without Sandler’s involvement.

  14. Ken Hanke

    I expected you to discuss two or three other movies in your opening paragraph, as per your usual practice, before you segued into the movie you were actually supposed to review.

    Ah, but I still managed to make reference to at least four other movies over the course of the review.

    I very likely wouldn’t have made any comment about this review at all if you hadn’t seen fit to drop my name into the conversation.

    Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

  15. cartoonmayhem

    Apatow movies feature really unlikeable people in unrealistically contrived situations. I thought that both 40 Year Old Virgin and Superbad were third generation rip offs of other, funnier movies. The Bollywood spoof in 40 Year Old Virgin ground that movie to a halt. Superbad, that teenage coming of age movie trod ground so overly used that it has potholes in it. Revenge Of The Nerds was so much better.

  16. JJ Funky

    Hanke, I believe you overthink some aspects of this film. Maybe it’s because you watch a lot of movies; whatever. Besides your recognition of appreciation of Sandler’s character not making a post-illness 180, your omitting some great qualities of the film. One, the story paralleled George’s post-illness life (i.e. so what now?). The filmed changed with George. I thought “what now” when he was physically better; the film conveyed that. Also, this movie was not just about show biz and phat houses; it was about real people that with success. It brings the famous back down to reality; very well done. I don’t know why you couldn’t see that. Finally, the jokes and on-screen standup was hilarious. Ira’s jokes got better as his confidence grew. If you were a prude, I would understand. Maybe you are unintentionally “self-indulgent” in your reviewing process. Not being a wise guy, just that reviewers watch so many movies that they can be overly critical and somewhat blinded by the quantity.

  17. JJ Funky

    Oh I get it, cartoonmayhem, since Apatow movies are too popular, it’s popular to scrape some ridiculous and absurd criticisms of them. I could appreciate some valid and detailed explanations of your massive knowledge of the comedy genre. Your comments are worth a smirk because of the mere snobbiness.

  18. Ken Hanke

    Hanke, I believe you overthink some aspects of this film

    I really don’t even understand what that means. Is this some variant on the concept that this or that movie is great if you make yourself as dumb as the movie? I suppose that makes some kind of sense — though I do not subscribe to it — if you’re dealing with action movies or brazenly stupid comedies, but here we have a movie that wants us to take it seriously.

    The filmed changed with George. I thought “what now” when he was physically better; the film conveyed that. Also, this movie was not just about show biz and phat houses; it was about real people that with success. It brings the famous back down to reality; very well done.

    Yes, I know this is what the film attempts to do. It is not — as far as I’m concerned — what it does.

    Finally, the jokes and on-screen standup was hilarious. Ira’s jokes got better as his confidence grew. If you were a prude, I would understand

    This is wholly subjective. I’m glad you recognize that I’m not a prude, but I did find most of the jokes in this film to be pointlessly smutty and childish. The last joke — the very final one — is a perfect example. I didn’t find it in the least funny, but I did find it stupidly smutty — like some tired “adult” comedy record from 40-odd years ago when such material was considered scandalous. I just find it unfunny and boring. I’m neither shocked, nor amused. I got far more laughs out of Whatever Works, The Brothers Bloom, Easy Virtue, Sunshine Cleaning and (500) Days of Summer — to name others films with comedic content this year.

    Maybe you are unintentionally “self-indulgent” in your reviewing process. Not being a wise guy, just that reviewers watch so many movies that they can be overly critical and somewhat blinded by the quantity.

    Again, I don’t even understand the point you’re making. I found Funny People to be a lousy movie about a bunch of miserable people I would avoid in real life. And I explained why I felt this way. How — except that it doesn’t agree with you — is that overly critical? What does it have to do with being “blinded by the quantity?” Do you mean that I see so many better movies that I’m judging this one as bad because it’s inferior to them?

  19. Ken Hanke

    Oh I get it, cartoonmayhem, since Apatow movies are too popular, it’s popular to scrape some ridiculous and absurd criticisms of them.

    It is possible to genuinely dislike something that’s popular for reasons other than the fact that it’s popular. The charge that this is the only reason someone doesn’t like something is as stock a criticism as the very criticism it addresses. (Actually, Funny People raises questions of just how popular Apatow is. It underperformed opening weekend. How it fares from there remains to be seen.)

    While I don’t entirely agree with or understand parts of cartoonmayhem’s criticism (does the Bollywood bit refer to the parody of Milos Forman’s Hair, which has nothing to do with Bollywood), I don’t see that it’s grounded in hating Apatow’s popularity.

  20. cartoonmayhem

    “I found Funny People to be a lousy movie about a bunch of miserable people I would avoid in real life.”

    ****************************************************

    This is the whole crux of Judd Apatow’s film making. His movies ALL feature unlikeable, whining, snot-nosed, insular cynics. And it’s pretty obvious to me that none of these people have spent any time in the real world, working themselves into a soaking sweat doing real work. Otherwise, maybe they would show some gratitude for their comfortable L.A. surroundings. The 40 Year Old Virgin was especially bad. A guy who’s a virgin that long didn’t simply have lousy opportunity and clumsy first attempts that made him readily give up. And his girlfriend viewing him, patronizingly as a work in progress. “I’m helping you grow up” she coldly says to him as she makes him give up his toys. Which, oh so Hollywood fantasyland, make him a half a million dollars.
    Having known real fanboys who collect toys and real 40 year old virgin guys, I know there is something in their psyche that makes them this way. The “the right woman” doesn’t come along and cure. When Apatow misses the mark, he’s way off course. But this is why I don’t have much hope in Funny People being very good. The trailers annoyed me enough as it is. Sandler is like the obnoxious smart ass who thinks he’s sooo funny and who has stayed at the party two hours too long. The last time he was truly funny was in the 1990′s Happy Gilmore.

  21. JJ Funky

    Cartoonmayhem, you are entertaining. You dissect the 40 yr old virgin like it was a superhero comic book. You can’t just relax and enjoy the obviously absurd circumstance of the movie. You are actually analyzing a straightforward comedy like an intense drama. It’s ok to laugh.

  22. JJ Funky

    Hanke, I believe Sandler’s character and the direction he moves in when cured, is much more realistic than many characters in hollywood films.
    People don’t generally make a complete 180, they become better, not saintly. If you don’t like George, maybe that’s good; I don’t know too many people that will morph into a completely new person, but only change in certain areas. George realistically changed.

  23. Ken Hanke

    It’s ok to laugh

    And it’s equally okay not to laugh if you don’t think it’s funny. I’m definitely with him on that point.

  24. Ken Hanke

    Hanke, I believe Sandler’s character and the direction he moves in when cured, is much more realistic than many characters in hollywood films.

    So? What exactly does that get us? Apatow won’t even go all the way. He wants to have his Hollywood and trash it too — or he wouldn’t have that final scene to soften it all.

    George realistically changed.

    Maybe. Maybe not. The point that doesn’t change is that I don’t care about George or Ira (are these names some weird Gershwin reference?) or what happens to them. For me, that’s one of the reasons that the film fails.

  25. Sean K.

    You write that there’s a “disconnect with reality” to the film and that these characters have nothing in common with anyone who doesn’t also possess great wealth. It’s almost like you’re dismissing all their problems from the get-go just because they’re rich. And not all of them were; Ira worked at a deli and slept on his friend’s pullout couch.
    And while the characters were extremely flawed, I think that’s kind of why the film worked so well for me. Most movies are designed for you to immediately fall in love with the protagonists. “Funny People” actually gave the characters some room to breathe and didn’t hit you over the head with their lovability.
    Judging from your comments on “Knocked Up” and “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” it seems that you’re not a fan of Apatow’s work in general. I can understand you getting quickly sick of penis jokes, but I think there’s a level of intelligence and thought in his films, gross-out humor or not, that’s a rarity in comedies today, that you seem to be either missing or ignoring. Get with it, Ken.

  26. Ken Hanke

    you’re dismissing all their problems from the get-go just because they’re rich

    No, it’s because of the way in which they’re wastefully and narcissistically rich.

    “Funny People” actually gave the characters some room to breathe and didn’t hit you over the head with their lovability.

    I don’t see how hitting me over the head with how unlovable they are is a vast improvement if it’s even an improvement of any kind.

    Judging from your comments on “Knocked Up” and “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” it seems that you’re not a fan of Apatow’s work in general.

    That’s certainly true, though I found Knocked Up passably entertaining — at least till I tried watching it a second time.

    I can understand you getting quickly sick of penis jokes, but I think there’s a level of intelligence and thought in his films, gross-out humor or not, that’s a rarity in comedies today, that you seem to be either missing or ignoring

    You know, if it was gross-out humor, I might find it more appealing, but it’s not — to my mind — gross-out, it’s merely adolescent. And, you’re right, I’m missing this intelligence you’re finding in his movies.

    Get with it, Ken

    If getting “with it” requires admiring Apatow, I will have to remain hopelessly not “with it.”

  27. JJ Funky

    Sandler’s character was a logical creation of a person receiving wealth and fame at an early age with the self-centeredness that follows. His change was circumstantial. Some changes were temporary and some permanent, like an actual person’s. George becomes better, but, nevertheless, still George. The direction his character was going at the end of the film insinuated genuine change to his selfish character. I think he found the value of having a friend and regained some humanity back.

  28. Ken Hanke

    The direction his character was going at the end of the film insinuated genuine change to his selfish character. I think he found the value of having a friend and regained some humanity back.

    I understand that’s the idea. My problem (with this aspect of the movie) is that I don’t buy it. The movie has spent about 140 minutes indicating that these people are incapable of having real friendships, then turns around in two minutes and says that it is.

  29. Ken Hanke

    self indulgent is a weak when describing these guys..or the movie

    I’m sticking with it — for sheer pointlessness of length if nothing else.

    The thin line between comedy and tragedy is easy to see if you’ve ever hung out with a true comic genius..

    Unless you’re saying that Sandler is a “true comic genius” or that his character comes across as one (in which case our definitions of genius are wildly divergent), then this seems an irrelevant observation as concerns this movie. The line between comedy and tragedy being thin is hardly a new idea.

    maybe not that funny but I’m not sure it was ment to be..

    If you’re talking about the movie (and not your emetic comedian friend), I don’t think anyone is arguing the point that the film is supposed to be more than just funny.

  30. JJ Funky

    “The movie has spent about 140 minutes indicating that these people are incapable of having real friendships, then turns around in two minutes and says that it is.”

    Sandler was the only one who really had to learn the lesson on friendship. At the final scene, it’s obvious that some time has passed from when Ira had been fired by George. Therefore, George had time to process everything that he’d learned from illness, gaining a true friend, getting better and screwing up. George’s revelation didn’t occur the next day. However, he wasn’t at the alphic stage of personal evolvment; he was building upon the foundation, which doesn’t take as much time as starting from scratch.

  31. Ken Hanke

    Sandler was the only one who really had to learn the lesson on friendship.

    Uh, not really. Ira deliberately cut out his friend of an offer to write for George.

    At the final scene, it’s obvious that some time has passed from when Ira had been fired by George. Therefore, George had time to process everything that he’d learned from illness, gaining a true friend, getting better and screwing up.

    Well, more correctly he’d bought this true friend in the first place.

    George’s revelation didn’t occur the next day. However, he wasn’t at the alphic stage of personal evolvment; he was building upon the foundation, which doesn’t take as much time as starting from scratch.

    It strikes me that this is filling in a lot of blanks for the film. If you’re comfortable with this, that’s fine. What I’m still seeing is a Hollywood contrivance to keep Sandler from seeming to be an absolute skunk at the fade-out.

  32. Ken Hanke

    I guess what makes this movie so funny to me is the pain is happening to them…

    An interesting definition of funny.

    I just rated it higher than you..maybe because of my background

    If one needs a background in stand-up comedy in order to get the film, it would seem to limit its audience significantly.

    As far as new ideas..I didn’t know we were going for originality?

    So why would I want to spend two and a half hours seeing the same old ground being crossed yet again? In any case, the film is being heavily touted as some kind of new height of maturity for Apatow, which suggests that it perhaps has something new to say.

  33. JJ Funky

    “Uh, not really. Ira deliberately cut out his friend of an offer to write for George.”

    True, Ira did. However, it was because he was the least successful. He wanted something for himself, finally an achievement. Selfish? Yeah, but not cutthroat.

    “Well, more correctly he’d bought this true friend in the first place.”

    You can’t buy a “true” friend. Ira was a sincere person, conveyed by not being a heartless parasite. Honestly who wouldn’t be affected to some extent? I’m sure anybody on this site would.

    “It strikes me that this is filling in a lot of blanks for the film.”

    I disagree. You can’t disregard the impact of being at death’s door. This enabled George to analyze his actions. Yeah, without the death deal, it would be absurd of him to show that much change. Most rational folks who faced death and got a contract extension would rethink their actions.

  34. Ryan

    Ken, you look retarded arguing with people in the comments field on a review that you wrote.

  35. Sean K.

    You say you dismiss their problems because the characters are wasteful and narcissistic in regards to their wealth, but the only two characters this is true of are George and Clark, and these two are clearly intended as parallel figures in the storyline. Leslie Mann’s character even states how similar they are in the film. They are both supposed to be spoiled, selfish, and self-absorbed, and thus it is fitting that their characters possess such a cavalier attitude towards their wealth.
    And I don’t think we’re hit out over the head with how unlovable these characters are either; I think besides George, most of these people are somewhere in the middle-ground. Personally, I think that makes them a lot easier to identify with.
    And when I said “get with it,” I was only making a reference to the last line in your review. I know how it feels to be in the minority with an opinion on a film (even though in this case, I think there are quite a few people who agree with you). But I am honestly surprised how much you don’t like Apatow’s films. I guess I’m a little more predisposed to like them; most of my favorite films combine romance with raunchy humor in a way that is deeply personal (I’m a big Kevin Smith fan), but I always kind of thought there was something in his movies that could appeal to everyone. “The 40 Year Old Virgin” in particular is really one of the biggest-hearted love stories I’ve ever seen. Granted, the humor is adolescent, but the writing is mature, I think, and has grown more so with each successive film. Then again, if you didn’t like one, you’re probably not going to like the others, because they do all possess a similar tone and sense of humor. I guess it’s all a matter of personal preference.

  36. Ken Hanke

    True, Ira did. However, it was because he was the least successful. He wanted something for himself, finally an achievement.

    At the point that this occurs in the story, Ira and the Jonah Hill character on pretty even footing, so how much less successful he was than the friend he deliberately prevented from benefiting from the offer is debatable.

    I disagree. You can’t disregard the impact of being at death’s door.

    I don’t know. Have you actually been there?

    Most rational folks who faced death and got a contract extension would rethink their actions.

    Well, I haven’t had that many encounters with people who’ve been through such a thing, but I have been around an awful lot of people who have changed their ways over some perceived upset in their lives — and once the initial shock or immediate danger has passed, those changed ways usually drift right back to where they were. There were several ways I might have bought this, but the film chose none of them — probably because none of them would have told the audience exactly what it wanted to hear.

    But really, where are we? You’ve stated your case, which I understand, but don’t agree with. I’ve stated my take on the film, which you don’t agree with. Is there really any place to take this other than into going around in a circle?

  37. Ken Hanke

    Isn’t most the drivel you have to watch more of the boy meets girl..blow em up..same ole same ole..originality is a rare commodity..

    So are you saying that Funny People is drivel? I’m not sure what your point is. Are you saying that a lack of originality is so common that it’s unimportant and that it shouldn’t be held against a film? I see a lot of unoriginal stuff, sure, but that doesn’t mean I ought to just accept it, does it? I also see a fair amount of things that either have a degree of originality, or at least put a fresh spin on something.

  38. Ken Hanke

    Ken, you look retarded arguing with people in the comments field on a review that you wrote.

    Why? I’m perfectly happy to discuss a review with anyone who isn’t abusive. Why shouldn’t I?

  39. Ken Hanke

    You say you dismiss their problems because the characters are wasteful and narcissistic in regards to their wealth, but the only two characters this is true of are George and Clark

    In terms of conspicuous consumption that may be largely true, but one of those is the main character in the film — and I am apparently supposed to like him. The others, however, seem pretty much cut from the same cloth of utter self-absorption in every way except — as yet — the ability to consume like crazy.

    But I am honestly surprised how much you don’t like Apatow’s films. I guess I’m a little more predisposed to like them; most of my favorite films combine romance with raunchy humor in a way that is deeply personal (I’m a big Kevin Smith fan), but I always kind of thought there was something in his movies that could appeal to everyone.

    Now, oddly enough I tend to like Kevin Smith’s films, but I find them to often be truly transgressive in ways that Apatow never gets near. I actually know quite a few people who find even less appealing in Apatow’s movies than I do, which isn’t meant to prove anything other than, no, there’s not something in his movies to appeal to everyone.

    “The 40 Year Old Virgin” in particular is really one of the biggest-hearted love stories I’ve ever seen.

    And most people seem to agree with you. I didn’t like it at all.

    Granted, the humor is adolescent, but the writing is mature, I think, and has grown more so with each successive film.

    See, I just don’t find anything about these movies to be mature. This whole man-boy sub-genre is something I find downright creepy in fact.

    Then again, if you didn’t like one, you’re probably not going to like the others, because they do all possess a similar tone and sense of humor. I guess it’s all a matter of personal preference.

    Well, of course that’s the bottom line. What’s funny is that I’m not even especially interested in talking you out of liking these movies — not that I think I could. That’s certainly your right and your call.

  40. Ken Hanke

    I dig you are so passionate about film and value your input..Thanx Hank..you’re good in my books..

    Thank you (as long as you don’t take to calling me “Hank,” that is). I’m actually a little baffled as to why someone thinks I oughtn’t be available for discussing a movie or a review of one.

    This is a little off the subject,,Thought “Public Enemy” was way over rated..talk about no sympathetic characters..another review I know..

    I had problems with it, though I did and do find it more interesting filmmaking than Funny People, but then comedy films are very often (not invariably) visually kind of bland.

  41. Sean K.

    I know you weren’t interested in talking me out of loving these films – and you are right; you couldn’t if you tried – but I did find it interesting to have a back and forth with someone who has a different opinion from mine who actually has something to back it up with. Also, there aren’t a lot of critics out there who would take the time to respond to everyone who comments on their reviews, and for that I am extremely appreciative.

  42. Ken Hanke

    Also, there aren’t a lot of critics out there who would take the time to respond to everyone who comments on their reviews, and for that I am extremely appreciative.

    I consider myself very lucky in that these comment sections have attracted a remarkably erudite and thoughtful and civilized group of posters (in the main) who are actually interested in discussing the films. That’s a primary reason why I have no reservations about being as accessible as possible here — and, in turn, why I don’t get involved on places like Rotten Tomatoes.

  43. Jeremy

    Mr Hanke, this is the first review of yours I’ve read. I didn’t think that “Funny People” was a great movie by any stretch and I didn’t like it either, but I do think you’re unfairly dismissing what people like about Apatow.

    People don’t like Apatow because he’s “original” and “edgy.” They don’t laugh hysterically at every crude penis or fart joke that comes there way (at least, most of his fellow fans I know don’t).

    For most of us, we see him as the rightful successor to the late John Hughes: a prolific filmmaker who’s great at portraying the 21st century young adulthood experience in a way that resonates with honesty, humor, and love in much the same way that Hughes tapped the zeitgeist in the 80s with his teen films and screwball comedies. Both men aren’t/weren’t just directors: their filmographies include extensive and impressive credits as writers and producers.

    Now, obviously others out there try to make movies for young adults because it’s a lucrative market. However, no one else in filmmaking today does it with the shrewd observational eye and heart that Apatow has shown time and time again. His characters are unblinkingly honest representations of his audience and our attempts to navigate through adult responsibilities, loneliness, friendship, relationships, etc. That’s why we love him. “Knocked Up,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” and “Superbad” are good examples here. There’s infinitely more depth, social commentary, and complexity of emotion there than in, say, “American Pie” or “The Hangover.”

    There’s also the other side to Apatow: the weird, absurdist side that’s shown up in “Anchorman,” “Walk Hard,” and “Talledega Nights,” and “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” Those aren’t really my style, but “Anchorman” was quite clever farce.

    Even when the premise is as exaggerated as “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” I think every man can relate to trying to navigate the dating world and learning how to deal with women. That all the guys offering advice on women in that movie were just as clueless–but not explicitly stated as such–as the title character was the kind of nice touch I respect Apatow for.

    Now, “Funny People” isn’t a good example of this because, as you said, the characters are all pretty unlikeable. It’s more of a character study on what life is like for comics, both famous (George), on their way up (Mark), not-so-famous but talented (Leo), and not-so-famous and maybe not that talented (Ira).

    The biggest issue I have with this film is that it’s been marketed as a comedy when it’s really intended as a character study. That it never rises beyond that to take on ideas like what a comedian’s role is or what drives these people to be comics (there is a brief conversation there and a few hints, but it’s painfully unexplored) my only biggest criticism of the film on its own merits. Plus, as you pointed out, this time around most of Apatow’s trademark ad-libbed jokes are lame. Sandler’s constant big penis “jokes” were especially groan inducing. This film was severely lacking in Paul Rudd to bounce witty banter off of.

    Anyway, I hope that explains some of the appeal of Apatow. Nothing is for everyone, and no one is saying that Apatow has reinvented the wheel here. There are only so many stories and Apatow is big on paying respect to what’s come before, so if you see elements of great movies in his work it’s to be expected.

  44. Ken Hanke

    I do think you’re unfairly dismissing what people like about Apatow.

    I don’t think I’m dismissing it so much as I’m not appreciating it. This is why I said I wasn’t interested in trying to persuade anyone to not like his movies.

    For most of us, we see him as the rightful successor to the late John Hughes: a prolific filmmaker who’s great at portraying the 21st century young adulthood experience in a way that resonates with honesty, humor, and love in much the same way that Hughes tapped the zeitgeist in the 80s with his teen films and screwball comedies.

    It’s probably the wrong time to say this — in light of his recent death — but I was not and am not a fan of John Hughes either. My problem with the point you’re making is that the bulk of Apatow’s characters are considerably past the point of what could reasonably be called young adulthood, don’t you think? They may act like they’re in that realm, but they’re considerably past it. After all a “40 year old virgin” is hardly a young adult.

    “Knocked Up,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” and “Superbad” are good examples here. There’s infinitely more depth, social commentary, and complexity of emotion there than in, say, “American Pie” or “The Hangover.”

    Well, that’s pretty unarguable, but it doesn’t take much to be deeper than those films. I’d more readily concede the point on Sarah Marshall, which had several nice touches that I admired. Since you’re not familiar with my review of it –

    http://www.mountainx.com/movies/review/forgetting_sarah_marshall

    That also perhaps puts my general take on Apatow into better perspective than the review of Funny People does. The Superbad review may also be a better barometer –

    http://www.mountainx.com/movies/review/superbad

    The biggest issue I have with this film is that it’s been marketed as a comedy when it’s really intended as a character study.

    But as you point out, not a very deep one. The marketing strategy has backfired in any case, since the studio’s claims that the movie would find its audience through word of mouth was pretty much put to rest this weekend with it plummeting slightly over 65% to the no. 5 spot. (I am not by the way equating box office receipts with merit, merely pointing out the fallacy in such marketing.)

    This film was severely lacking in Paul Rudd to bounce witty banter off of

    It might certainly have helped.

    Anyway, I hope that explains some of the appeal of Apatow. Nothing is for everyone, and no one is saying that Apatow has reinvented the wheel here.

    Oh, I understand the appeal, as I said, I just don’t see it myself.

    There are only so many stories and Apatow is big on paying respect to what’s come before, so if you see elements of great movies in his work it’s to be expected.

    I’ve seen plot contrivances, but apart from the reference to Forman’s Hair in Virgin, I have to admit that I’ve never seen any actual elements of other specific movies in these films.

  45. But as you point out, not a very deep one. The marketing strategy has backfired in any case, since the studio’s claims that the movie would find its audience through word of mouth was pretty much put to rest this weekend with it plummeting slightly over 65% to the no. 5 spot. (I am not by the way equating box office receipts with merit, merely pointing out the fallacy in such marketing.)

    There might be another reason for the chilly reception. Most of us know now that Apatow films are VERY long… many people might want to see this but are just waiting for the dvd.

  46. Ken Hanke

    There might be another reason for the chilly reception. Most of us know now that Apatow films are VERY long… many people might want to see this but are just waiting for the dvd

    Maybe, especially since this one is even longer than usual. You can also factor in the idea that, despite their connections, Apatow’s fanbase and Sandler’s fanbase don’t exactly crossover. There are so many possible variables — maybe even the film’s own assertion that a slimmed down Seth Rogen isn’t as appealing (and he’s really not, for some reason).

  47. cartoonmayhem

    John Hughes was not my cup of tea either but he was at least able to use guile and wit in his comedies, even if there were incredible contrivances especially with gadgetry in it. (Home Alone is an example) Not an endless streak of using the F word (Earth to Hollywood: the F word has lost its edginess years ago), ball shots and…what is this obsession with the penis that Sandler seems to have?

    It’s not just Apatow either. Here’s a writing assignment for aspiring screen writers: try writing an entire script without the F bomb, nut shot, bodily fluid joke or fart joke in it. Can you do it?

    And it’s not because I’m a crank. I loved Blazing Saddles, for example, as much as the next guy. It was the funniest fart scene I’ve seen. But what I can’t take is an endless diet of it. And that seems to be what we’re getting here lately. As well as the other stuff I’ve mentioned. Meh. It’s old. Time for a new style of film making with fresh jokes in it. Another Napoleon Dynamite. But not ANOTHER Napoleon Dynamite. Catch my drift?

  48. Anthony

    Ken , I thought I was all by myself with the disgusting taste this movie left in my mouth. After I read your review it seems I found a kindred spirit. This movie was nothing more than another attempt for Sandler to fail at playing a serious role.

  49. Ken Hanke

    Well, I’d guess it wasn’t that well loved by others, because it sank like a rock at the box office.

  50. JOHN-C

    But as you know Ken… It was #1 at the box office it’s opening weekend. Which supports the fact that it’s not a failure. And you know Judd Apatow flicks have a good reputation for banking in DVD sales. It looks like it’s going to be a success but not a huge success. Those guys knew they were going out on a limb with this one and are probably pretty happy it didn’t tank. And just for my two cent’s… I enjoyed this movie and it’s obvious that Apatow is the most successful and critically acclaimed comedy writer/director of the last decade. Perhaps you don’t “Get It” Ken?

  51. Justin Souther

    But as you know Ken… It was #1 at the box office it’s opening weekend. Which supports the fact that it’s not a failure.

    Sure, it opened number one, but it underperformed — compared to both past Apatow and Sandler flicks — on a soft weekend where its only new competition was Aliens in the Attic and The Collector. Then, add on top of this its $75 million budget which is about $45 million more that past Apatow-directed films (not including advertising, which easily pushes the film’s budget over the $100 million mark), three straight weeks of 64%, 62% and 69% weekend box office drop-offs (to put that into perspective, only two major releases — A Perfect Getaway and The Collector — had a loss in box office more that 60% last week) and a gross of only $52 million worldwide after a month, then yes, it has pretty much tanked. It’s not even playing locally anymore.

  52. Ken Hanke

    Apatow is the most successful and critically acclaimed comedy writer/director of the last decade.

    Says much about the state of comedy in the last decade. I’ll take Wes Anderson.

  53. JOHN-C

    Ken The Life Aquatic was WAY over rated… It was in the Criterion Collection before it came out. If “You Guys” will read my post again you’ll see I didn’t question the tanking of Funny People. I”m making a statement that it’s not a failure. And I think you guys will agree… Apatow as a whole is anything but a failure. [My prescription for laughter for Ken and "The Other Guy" watch The Cable Guy and try not to be so critical]

  54. cartoonmayhem

    This weekend was a showing of Some Like It Hot. I just can’t help but see the de-evolution of comedies in the past 70 years. You go from Philadelphia Story to Some Like It Hot to Airplane to…Superbad and Funny People. Sometimes the Hollywood censors had their place in Cimema. If forced people to rely on things other than shock value, which after awhile has no value at all if it fails to shock.

  55. Ken Hanke

    Ken The Life Aquatic was WAY over rated

    Well, that’s an opinion — and one that I very much don’t share.

    I”m making a statement that it’s not a failure.

    Financially it is. Personally, I think it’s a bad movie — one that seems even worse to me in retrospect than my original reaction to it.

    And I think you guys will agree… Apatow as a whole is anything but a failure.

    Well, for me, he is on artistic grounds, but I can’t argue his position at the box office (neither can I argue that about Michael Bay)– up till this film. However, I suspect you’ll find a significantly reined-in Apatow on his next project. The studio’s attempts to get him to cut Funny People to a more tractable length seem to be justified by the tepid box office, and it will likely come home to roost.

    My prescription for laughter for Ken and “The Other Guy” watch The Cable Guy

    I’ve seen it. I wasn’t that impressed.

    try not to be so critical

    That seems a very peculiar thing to ask of critics.

  56. Ken Hanke

    This weekend was a showing of Some Like It Hot. I just can’t help but see the de-evolution of comedies in the past 70 years. You go from Philadelphia Story to Some Like It Hot to Airplane to…Superbad and Funny People.

    Well, that’s a simplified way of looking at it, since during this earlier era you also had a lot of humor that could hardly be called sophisticated. I’m also not sure that Airplane can be compared to The Philadelphia Story in any useful way. Comparing a spoof to a romantic comedy (a sophisticated romantic comedy, but still a romantic comedy) doesn’t really convey much. Nor can a coming of age comedy like Superbad be said to relate to such a film.

    Level the playing field a little. I’d certainly concede that The Philadelphia Story is less tawdry and tacky than 40 Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up, but the same era that gave us those also gave us Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Easy Virtue, neither of which seem de-evolved to me. If you argue that those are period pieces, well, so is Some Like It Hot. And what of films like Bridget Jones’s Diary and Love Actually? They’re not period pieces.

  57. cartoonmayhem

    I guess I meant by the comparisons to the fact the cuss words, bodily fluids, penis jokes and drug humour and such were not the primary focus of those comedies. In a sort of related note I just saw Adventureland and I found myself distracted by the constant drug and alcohol use and the constant ball shots. Believe me, somebody who shot me in the balls would NOT do it twice. Especially a spazz ex friend. OR Frienemie? It’s okay to have Drug Humor if you’re Cheech and Chong and you’re making a Drug Humor movie. But this was billed as a romantic comedy or a coming of age thing and there was little of that going on. Of course there were lots of very unsophisticated comedies in the olden days (and very, very bad ones at that.) But still, these missing out on a lot of things to make fun of when writers focus on just the things I listed and little else. THAT’S what I was getting at when I listed the comedies I listed. Sorry for the stream-of consciousness sort of writing.

  58. JJ Funky

    “De-evolution of comedies”;WTF? Really trying to grasp sophistication of an imaginery critique. What bold comedy dare to stand up to the enigmatic Jerry Lewis?! Dissecting comedies in a serious tone is a bit absurd. It’s like some of you guys don’t understand how to interpret comedy; everything is critiqued through a “drama” filter.

  59. Ken Hanke

    Dissecting comedies in a serious tone is a bit absurd. It’s like some of you guys don’t understand how to interpret comedy; everything is critiqued through a “drama” filter.

    Yes, I know, turn off your mind and just go with it, right? If that is a starting point, then it’s also an ending point, because there’s nowhere to go with it. However, isn’t this a pretty strange criticism to level against someone in the comments section on Funny People, a comedy that primarily is made through a “‘drama’ filter?”

  60. JJ Funky

    Hanke, cartoonmayhem’s comments were hardly specific to “Funny People”; you know that. It really is humorous how seriously you guys dissect comedy; you end up creating comedy for me! I am sitting here smiling and laughing at how deadpan you guys are; it’s all good, bro. There could be a movie in the works here; maybe, Judd Apatow could direct.

  61. Ken Hanke

    It really is humorous how seriously you guys dissect comedy; you end up creating comedy for me! I am sitting here smiling and laughing

    So what are you complaining about, Funky?

    Thing is, I’m not sure where I’ve dissected comedy here. I’m not at all certain that stating that I don’t find the comedy in Funny People or in most Apatow to be, you know, actually funny, qualifies as dissection, merely a statement of fact.

    Addressing in more specific terms why the dramatic aspects of the film fail to work at all for me — primarily that I don’t care about these characters — is perhaps dissection.

    So do you honestly believe this stuff is the positive forward growth of comedy? Is Apatow the pinnacle of comedy? Is his work the absolute height of comedy filmmaking?

  62. JJ Funky

    Hanke, first off I addressed “you guys”, not “you, Hanke”.

    “So do you honestly believe this stuff is the positive forward growth of comedy? Is Apatow the pinnacle of comedy? Is his work the absolute height of comedy filmmaking?”

    Honestly, that first of the three questions is quite hilarious. I have never sat and contemplated on comedy as a progression.

    “Is Apatow the pinnacle of comedy?” That is a question that I’m unsure that can be answered. Once again, I can’t approach this as it were an application to be studied.

    Finally, “Is his work the absolute height of comedy filmmaking?” is, most obviously, a rhetorical question. I have to laugh at the daunting sobriety of the question. I mean, really, who sits in the dark at night, cigarrette in hand, thinking “what destiny lies for the future of comedy?”?

  63. Ken Hanke

    Hanke, first off I addressed “you guys”, not “you, Hanke”.

    Yes, Funky, but it would seem reasonable to assume I am included in “you guys,” wouldn’t it? Otherwise, why not single out your target directly?

    Honestly, that first of the three questions is quite hilarious. I have never sat and contemplated on comedy as a progression.

    To some degree you have or you wouldn’t get all a-dither about someone calling the current state of the comedy film a “de-evolution.”

    “Is Apatow the pinnacle of comedy?” That is a question that I’m unsure that can be answered. Once again, I can’t approach this as it were an application to be studied.

    It requires no study. It’s a simple enough question. Do you consider Apatow’s films equal to or greater than Chaplin, Keaton, the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Lubitsch, Preston Sturges, Billy Wilder, etc.? It’s not hard.

    Finally, “Is his work the absolute height of comedy filmmaking?” is, most obviously, a rhetorical question. I have to laugh at the daunting sobriety of the question. I mean, really, who sits in the dark at night, cigarrette in hand, thinking “what destiny lies for the future of comedy?”?

    I wasn’t suggesting anyone does. I’m merely asking you if you consider these movies to be the finest comedies ever made — not what you think they will lead to. You’re at liberty to answer the question or not. Or you can have no opinion, though you must have one somehow or you wouldn’t feel compelled to defend the Apatow brand.

  64. JJ Funky

    “Do you consider Apatow’s films equal to or greater than Chaplin, Keaton, the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Lubitsch, Preston Sturges, Billy Wilder, etc.? It’s not hard.”

    Apatow films and the classic comedy can’t be compared side by side; you know this. Having the liberty to curse and make lewd jokes wasn’t something classic comedy possessed. Apatow would have to make a film with the same content restrictions to do an actual comparison.

    ” I’m merely asking you if you consider these movies to be the finest comedies ever made—not what you think they will lead to. You’re at liberty to answer the question or not. Or you can have no opinion, though you must have one somehow or you wouldn’t feel compelled to defend the Apatow brand.”

    I’m not dodging the question. I believe for an unrestricted content allowance, yes they are some of the funniest in this category. I would never compare 40 Year Old Virgin to Ghostbusters; it is an uneven comparison. Harold Ramis would have needed to make a filthy, R-rated type of film to be able to be compared.

    Comedies don’t have to be full of cursing and lewd jokes for me to enjoy them. However, for the
    “Apatow brand” in comparison to other no-holds-barred comedies, I think he is the funniest. I understand if people don’t like lewd comedies. But, if they do I can’t understand how they wouldn’t like Apatow’s movies.

  65. cartoonmayhem

    “It requires no study. It’s a simple enough question. Do you consider Apatow’s films equal to or greater than Chaplin, Keaton, the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Lubitsch, Preston Sturges, Billy Wilder, etc.? It’s not hard.”

    Exactly.

  66. JJ Funky

    “Exactly.”? Cartoon, the quote is the form of a question; your answer is not an answer. Please expound; and, if you like, give more details on the “de-evolution of comedies” theory.

  67. JOHN-C

    I’ve got it… I just figured out why Hannke hates Apatow… YOUR TAKING IT TOO SERIOUSLY!

    Is that it Ken… did I hit the nail on the head or what?

    They are comedies… Right?

  68. cartoonmayhem

    I was responding to the “it’s not hard.”

    That is to figure out how comedies have devolved from witty banter, funny puns and sly innuendo, hilariously choreographed slap stick such as in Duck Soup and other Marx Brothers movies…to endless scenes of nutshots, bodily fluid jokes, and fart humour.

    The problem with comedies these days is how they beat a joke to death and not a very good one, either. At least Mel Brooks in the movie Blazing Saddles had the good sense to contain the fart jokes to one scene.

    What is bad about today’s comedies is the nutshots, bodily fluid jokes, penis jokes and fart jokes SUBSTITUTE for witty banter, sly innuendo, and hilariously choreographed slapstick.

    It takes no writing skill at all to go “oh, well, I can’t think of anything to say in this scene, so I’ll stick a fart joke in here.”

    Because that’s what I see when I watch these movies. I see very lazy writing.

  69. Ken Hanke

    They are comedies… Right?

    Theoretically, the first two are. Funny People, on the other hand, wants to be taken seriously. So how am I supposed to do that without taking it seriously? Seems your central argument misses that.

  70. JJ Funky

    Cartoon, thank you for the response. I respectfully disagree with you, however. But I would like to see Apatow challenge himself and pull off a PG movie; I believe he could, but probably won’t happen. I don’t see how you could compare 40-Year Old Virgin to some crap like Dorm Daze or recent National Lampoon/Van Wilder junk that is what you described above; that is not Apatow.

  71. cartoonmayhem

    I’d like to see Apatow change too. There is potential to be really great if he wouldn’t rely on the same ol’ same ol.’

    And actually, that’s what happened to National Lampoon, too. I don’t know if it was lazy writing at work or just plain bad. A lot of good talent was wasted in some of the later movies. Some directors have tin ears, indeed.

    I never saw Dorm Daze, but the title sounds awful. Did you ever see Dorm Bunny? I’ve been circling around it because Anna Faris is funny, generally speaking but it seems to be a rule that comedies based on college campuses have very bad hit and miss records.

    Another franchise that really started to go bad is the whole Scary Movie, Date Movie, Disaster Movie in that order.

  72. Ken Hanke

    Another franchise that really started to go bad is the whole Scary Movie, Date Movie, Disaster Movie in that order

    It didn’t have far to go to go bad.

  73. JJ Funky

    I think I’m ready to go see another film to talk about something different. Cartoon and Hanke: thanks for your responses.

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