Friday, January 29, 2010

Funny People

Its another review of a film that was out months ago! Woot!

Funny People is probably the most filmic film that Judd Apatow has ever made. He has made some good films- the Forty Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up spring to mind, but both suffered from improvisation: Apatow allowing actors to freestyle and say whatever came to their minds. This often detracted from the pace of the film, with scenes that added nothing to the characters or plot, just the occasional laugh. Thats fine, but it doesn't really make a film. Even worse, some of the more emotional scenes in Knocked Up feel improvised, and that undermines their impact somewhat.

Funny People doesn't have that problem. It probably has some improvised content, but clearly some scripted stuff too. The comedy often tells us something about the characters, and for once we have a strong plot. Adam Sandler as George Simmons is excellent, an absolutely horrible man who has abused everyone around him, and now he realises he is dying, is trying to change... except he doesn't. A lot has been said in other reviews I've read or heard about how the final act of the film doesn't really work, and while it is a tad clunky, the point is to underline quite how selfish Simmons is. He intends to destroy a family, claiming it is the right thing to do. The way this part of the story is told is a bit clunky, but the point is there.

Apatow's comedy only blossoms when it has a strong story hook to attach it to, and the more discipline he subjects himself to can only make his films better. This is probably his best film yet.

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