It didn’t come as a surprise to me that I liked Funny People. I’m a sucker for Adam Sandler, Apatow movies, and Seth Rogan. So the combination of all three is guaranteed to get me.
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s seen Punch Drunk Love, but Adam Sandler can actually act. And not just act like a fool. Don’t get me wrong, Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison are great movies. But they feature Adam Sandler The Clown. In the last few years he’s been breaking away from that role with films like Spanglish, Reign Over Me, and the aforementioned Punch Drunk Love. Funny People continues his progression, allowing him to mix The Clown with The Serious Actor.
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that’s seen Knocked Up that Judd Apatow can make an effective comedic drama. He manages to take a story that’s grounded in real, dramatic situations and infuse it with funny. Funny People works equally well as a comedy AND a drama, a tough feat to pull off.
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that hasn’t lived in a cave for the last few years that Seth Rogan is in a lot of movies these days. So many, in fact, that you could see how people would be getting sick of him. Sure, he’s funny, but he tends to be kind of the same in all of his movies. Here he benefits from playing second fiddle. The relationship between his character and Sandler’s is believable, awkward at times, and funny. His standup bits range from painful to hilarious, which is perfect for the role. It seems like not having the weight of the movie on his shoulders freed him to play a more complete character, not just Seth Rogan as a pot-smoking slacker.
If you’ve been reading it won’t come as a surprise that I liked Funny People. Quite a bit. It’s not perfect, but it’s damn good.