Saturday, November 21, 2009

Funny People DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Bittersweet Buddy Flick Starring Adam Sandler as Terminally-Ill Comic Arrives on DVD

This bittersweet buddy flick revolves around a terminally-ill, middle-aged, Hollywood icon (Adam Sandler) who decides to give an aspiring, young comic (Seth Rogen) the big break he’s been waiting for. Written and directed by Judd Apatow, the semi-autobiographical adventure marks a macabre departure from the superficial scatology and sophomoric slapstick with which the bottom-feeding filmmaker’s name has come to be associated.
By contrast, this relatively-cerebral indulgence amounts mostly to a maudlin meditation on the meaning of life which simultaneously attempts to pay homage to every comedian who ever tried to make it in Hollywood. The dialogue relies heavily on a flip brand of humor reminiscent of the inside industry banter popularized by the hit HBO series Entourage.
At the point of departure, we find George Simmons lounging around his sprawling mansion where he’s dividing his time between making phony phone calls and perusing script proposals poolside. The shallow Romeo also has his pick of the litter from among the adoring throngs of groupies who throw themselves at him, although it’s clear that he’s only interested in one-night stands.
Everything changes the day he receives a sobering diagnosis of late-stage leukemia from his Swedish doctor (Torsten Voges). With less than a year to live, friendless and estranged from his only sibling (Nicol Paone), George becomes desperate for a shoulder to lean on. So, he offers delicatessen counterman Ira a job as his joke writer and opening act, secretly hoping to find a confidante he can count on in the process.
Together virtually 24/7, George and Ira prove to be good for each other and gradually bond, with the former grudgingly showing his protégé how to hold an audience in the palm of his hand, while the latter helps his boss appreciate what really matters in life. Proof positive that when bad things happen to funny people, they might not be all that funny anymore.

Very Good (2.5 stars)
Unrated with profanity, ethnic slurs, sexuality and pervasive crude humor.
Running time: 146 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
2-Disc Unrated DVD Extras: Gag reels, deleted, extended and alternate scenes, feature commentary by director Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, 3 documentaries, music by James Taylor, RZA, Adam Sandler and Jon Brion, plus 4 more featurettes.

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