Funny People, directed and written by Jud Apatow, proves that it takes more than a cast of funny people to have a funny movie. While Apatow is attached to funny movies like the 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Pineapple Express, Funny People lacks a direction and foundation making it unclear to which genre it belongs. Apatow attempts to write a darkly comic story, but instead leaves audiences confused and annoyed at having wasted time watching it. The cast of comedians: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, and Jonah Hill do not leave audiences laughing as they do in some of their other films. Instead, it is more of the same for Rogan and Hill who seem to play the same character in every film for which they are cast.
Funny People is about famous comedian, George Simmons (Sandler) who finds out he is dying and decides to go on tour. George is painfully lonely and hires up and coming comedian Ira Wright (Rogan) to write jokes for him and be his personal assistant. Ira’s roommates are also up and coming actors and comedians played by Hill and Jason Schwartzman. George is asked to tell his friends and family that he is dying and also tells his former fiancé Laura (Leslie Mann) and rekindles his relationship with her. George then finds out he is not dying and is given a second chance at life.
There are some humorous moments, but they are not enough to carry the film. Sandler’s performance is mediocre at best, not coming close to his performance in Punch Drunk Love and it is more of the same from Hill and Rogan. Schwartzman is hands down the strongest character in the film; though, he too, seems to be playing a combination of characters from previous roles. Another aspect of the film that was an attempt to get audiences excited was the endless cameos by famous comedians. Seeing Sarah Silverman, Paul Rieser, Dave Attell, Norm MacDonald, and the list goes on, did make the slow going film perk up.
The concept for the film has the potential to be great but Apatow neglects to give the characters an arc, which is why the film has no direction and feels stagnant. Funny People does however teach audiences a great lesson: great cast doesn’t always mean great movie. It takes much more than a cast to have a great movie. Don’t waste your time watching this film, as the theme of Funny People tries to show its’ audience life is too short to be watching lame movies.