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This Week in Netflix: “Funny People” (2009) March 27, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Movies, Uncategorized.
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Verdict: Goes nowhere…slowly.

Children, I don’t even know why I put this movie in my Netflix queue. I’m going to blame this on my man-crush on Seth Rogen. At any rate, I got this movie, and popped it into the PS3 on a boring Saturday evening…and was promptly rewarded with a movie that inexplicably falls apart into incoherence in the final act.

Adam Sandler plays George Simmons, a self-absorbed comedian who finds out that he has a Plot Contrivance in the form of a fatal illness (of course, it’s not so fatal that it results in any kind of disfigurement or noticeable physical change). Seth Rogen plays Ira Wright, a young comedian who’s trying to get his career off the ground (it might help by actually telling funny jokes, but whatevs). Ira’s such a struggling artiste that he’s living on the couch of a successful sitcom actor (Jason Schwartzman) and his roommate, Leo (Jonah Hill). Simmons and Wright meet at a comedy club and Simmons decides to offer Wright the opportunity to write jokes for him…and act as his personal servant. Along the way, we get to see Sandler try to play serious as his character “confronts” his impending demise from Plot Contrivance. It’s about as convincing as you’d expect.

I thought the premise of this movie was that a comedian finds his humanity in the face of a life-threatening plot contrivance, but about halfway through Judd Apatow (writer and director) seemed to say, “Fuck it, I’m tired of this life-threatening Plot Contrivance.” So, in a few short lines of dialogue, a wonder drug appears and apparently cures George Simmons of his fatal case of Plot Contrivance. In the meantime, George has reconnected with an old flame (played by Leslie Mann) who is kinda-sorta unhappily married to an Australian (Eric Bana) who is always away on business. Well, in another case of Plot Contrivance, the Aussie happens to return home after Laura and George have had sex and she has tacitly declared her marriage over! DRAMA!

As if all this plot wasn’t enough, Ira (remember him? Yeah, don’t worry–Apatow forgot about him too) is pining away after some inexplicably bland comedienne named Daisy (Aubrey Plaza), but is too much of a schmuck to ask her out…and he gets mad at her for sleeping with the sitcom star. Don’t worry, Dying George somehow gets those two crazy kids back together. But since this movie seems to be All About George and Ira’s troubles are as much a plot contrivance as the Not-Quite-So Fatal Plot Contrivance, we don’t really get to know much about Ira, other than that he, like the rest of the world, really thinks that this George Simmons guy is really funny.

Well, after Simmons is cured of his Plot Contrivance, he heads at warp speed back into dickery and douchebaggery. He bitches at Ira and then fires him. Well, I hope Ira enjoyed the benefits of working for an unfunny asshole for the…how long did he work for this fool, anyway? I guess I really wasn’t paying attention, because I have no idea how much time passed between George’s Plot Contrivance diagnosis and the end of the movie. I do know that watching this movie felt like hours.

In sum, this is a tepid movie that doesn’t even have the courage to follow its own premise and kill the main character. It gets so bogged down in various plot twists and too many characters in this movie, that it winds up being an incomprehensible, boring mess with mostly unlikeable characters.

Oh, and another thing: you mean to tell me that any sighted woman would choose this:

Fig. 1: Old and busted

over this?

Fig. 2: New hotness

Yeah, Apatow. Get the fuck outta here with that bullshit.

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