Well, I've been putting off reviewing this for nearly a week because I honestly didn't want to affect anyone's decision on seeing this movie. It came so, so close to being great that I almost want to forgive it the one problem I had with it and just say it was worth the money to see it in the theater.
I almost want to say that but I can't.
I can tell you the reasons why I did like the movie to start though. From the beginning of the film, which unearths hilarious, amazing footage of adam sandler when he was still in his very, very early 20s making prank calls. Judd aptow and he were apparently college roommates (small world I guess). Those clips are hilarious and so is everything that comes after it for the next hour and a half or so. Adam acts like he's never acted before - I honestly did not believe he was still capable of pulling off such serious acting chops at all, even if Punch Drunk Love was brilliant. With a supporting cast of almost every comedian is hollywood, including the amazing jason shwartzman and that talented upcoming actor (you know, the other chubby guy who finds his way into every comedy that's come out in the last four years) who all play roles that aren't too far off from what I imagine they're all really like. No wonder they
The plot revolves around sandler as a comedian who's lost his way. Once a young comic who worked that stand-up circuit, he's now awash in fame and fortune from selling out and selling out hard. Shitty movies about him being a man in a babies body or a mermaid bring to mind the entire cannon of rob sneider's career (save his snl years). Anyways, sandler learns early on in the film that he has a rare disease that will most likely kill him. There is a treatment and sandler begins it, but with only a 7% chance or so of it working, sandler is sent into a spiral of depression. He goes to a local comedy club for open mike night and does an act that resembles something akin to a lead dog turd. He also bumps into Ira (seth rogan), a young guy who dreams of being a big time comedian while he sleeps on the couch of his two friends (played by shwartzman and that chubby dude from superbad and everything else). Ira and his friends all suck as comedians, but somehow his friends are all doing better than he is. Ira is forced to work the deli counter at the supermarket to make ends meet.
When sandler meets rogan shortly after he drops his turd of an act on stage (which Ira, who follows the act, makes fun of), sandler becomes sort of fascinated with rogan. He hires him to 'write jokes' but really, he just hires him to stay with him at all times. Sandler is very, very lonely and very scared, though he hides it mostly well. He also seems to be very codependent.
And so ira is the luckiest devil in the world. From sleeping on a pull out couch to sitting beside george's (sandler' characters name) bed until he falls asleep, getting all the extra stuff george gets for free and has no need for. Even ladies are tossed his way as george humps every chick that comes on screen, although ira deftly continues to be a pathetic loser who screws himself out of every possible tryst. He's a good guy, the lovable loser, and some of the films funniest moments is watching sandler, who's character is an asshole through and through, tear into him for being such a sad sack. Sandler has rogan there to keep him company until he dies, which he only reveals to rogan, a temendous and awful responsibility. Predictably, rogan starts to care and look after sandler more and more as a friend. And sandler mostly just craps on him, but lovingly.
The movie is filled with comedians and showcases many of their acts. Fake comedians made up for the film like 'Randy' played by that fella off of Human Giant and Parks and Rec (blogging from my phone means I have to remember shit like names and I obviously suck at that) and real comedians like sarah silverman (who predictably talks about her floppy vagina ((which every guy in the world dreams about no matter how gross she insists it is)), norm macdonald, andy dick, and many, many more. Eminem and ray (everybody loves raymond) throw down. There's so much funny in the beginning of the film, I was heartily surprised to be honest. The last three aptow movies I saw in the theater, and they were barely worth renting. I have only kept submitting myself to his work because his first 2 films were brilliant as was his tv worek (freaks and geeks, undeclared). I was so, so, so happy....
Then (I won't spoil it too much) something happens at about an hour and 30 minutes in that changes everything. If they had ended the movie there, it would have been PERFECT. Instead, they start a whole new act, another direction, one that's painfully slow and inexplicably out of place. Its NOT funny, not sad, not even important. We know sandler has a love he lost, we know he regrets it, he makes his amends while he's ill, and it should have been left at that. The fact that they decide to focus on that for about 45 minutes tears the movie in two. George is chasing the life he gave up to be a rich hollywood asshat because he realizes that his life lacks substance, but he's going about it all wrong and you can see what's going to happen so clearly, you want to shout 'CUT!?' and end the movie yourself. This trainwreck isn't just george's life - its the very film itself. When the train finally jumps the tracks right where you knew it would, you've probably forgotten entirely how good the beginning of the movie was.
The movie then continues to go on EVEN LONGER although, thank god, it gets back to what its good at and ends with more comedy. Its a little too late though. The film just ends up feeling way too long and in desperate need of a good editor. I left the movie tremendously disappointed. It started out so, so well.
Also, forgot to say, the soundtrack was great. I would still say to rent or download this just for the first half of the film, but I'm afraid this is the last aptow film I spend $10 to go see in the theater.
Funny People - **