Let’s make one thing very clear. Funny People is not a comedy. It’s a fantastic film with complex characters, solid performances, and great writing, but Funny People is a drama in a comedy’s clothing. There is an abundance of laughs in several scenes, a gut buster here and there, but the story isn’t much to laugh at. If you don't know what you're in for, you could go into Funny People not sure if you should be laughing or not and come out with awkward disappointment.
Adam Sandler plays George Simmons, a popular comic actor who had starred in numerous blockbuster comedies from every cheesy cookie cutter formula you could imagine. George discovers he suffers from a degenerative blood disease with an eight percent chance of survival. To wind down and go out with a quiet bang, George hits the stand-up circuit once more and hires small time comedian Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) to be his only friend under the false pretense of needing someone to write jokes for him.
At two and half hours, you could almost consider this a comedy epic. Is it Judd Apatow’s funniest film? Probably not. But I think it’s his best. The long run time, though perhaps a turnoff for some, is necessary for the actors' graceful unraveling of strong character arcs.
Sandler performs admirably as a very bitter and selfish man who constantly makes you wonder whether or not he’ll grow from his once in a lifetime experience. Not since Reign Over Me has Sandler adeptly conveyed such a deep character. His evolution is rocky and wavers unpredictably just as the plot does. This leads to many deceptively cliché scenes that end with a sharp, bittersweet blow.
Funny People involves a bit more sophistication than average audiences will care to chew on when looking for the next Apatow laugh fest. It’s chock full of subtle phrases and situations that resound vibrantly with each character: an element lacking from many a comedy these days that gives films like Funny People replay value where others expect you to laugh at the same joke every time. Funny People might go down as Apatow’s masterwork. I sure hope this is a hint of more fine work on the horizon.
What's on the Disc?
With a 1.85:1, 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, the audio and video on the disc is one of the most robust I’ve seen from a comedy. You won’t be blown away, but you’ll certainly agree that Funny People is one of the better looking/sounding films that doesn’t involve giant robots or time traveling spaceships.
This two-disc Blu-ray, not only looks and sounds nice, but also includes both the theatrical and unrated releases, bloated with special features on each disc. Listed here is about half of what awaits you on this massive Blu-ray.
• Audio Commentary (Disc 1) A very informative and personal commentary from Apatow, Rogen, and Sandler.
• Funny People Diaries (Disc 1, HD, 75 minutes) A four part documentary on the making of Funny People.
• Line-O-Rama Parts 1 & 2 (Disc 1, HD, 11 minutes) A series of alternate lines from the actors.
• Deleted Scenes (Disc 2, HD, 48 minutes) Seriously, 24 deleted scenes. Seriously.
• Extended & Alternate Scenes (Disc 2, HD, 66 minutes) Even more scenes. Seriously
• Music (Disc 2, HD, 50 minutes) Music, live performances/recordings of a few songs from the soundtrack.
• Stand Up (Disc 2, SD/HD, 63 minutes) Full stand up segments from each character from the film.
• The Films of George Simmons (Disc 2, HD, 7 minutes) A collection of clips from all of George Simmons’ films seen throughout Funny People.
• Prank Calls – 1990 (Disc 2, SD, 18 minutes) A much younger Sandler and Apatow collection of prank calls.