Where Are All the Funny People?

Funny People
Running time 146 minutes
Written and directed by Judd Apatow
Starring Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman

I’d like to tell you how vile this deviation from sanity called Funny People really is, but it is one of those rare times when I am at a loss for words. Judd Apatow, the most tasteless no-talent and truthfully alleged “director” since John Waters and the Farrelly brothers, follows the abominable Knocked Up with a 146-minute mental lapse that should have been dipped in hydrochloric acid in the editing lab.

Chief among the myriad problems infecting this junk heap is that the funny people in the title are simply not funny. Of course, it doesn’t help if you are allergic to Adam Sandler and an aberration called Seth Rogen in the first place. This grim duo is about as funny as two kidney stones. The plot—about a stand-up comic dying of a terminal blood disease—can be written on the head of a pin. The script is as amusing as infanticide, and two and a half hours of any single aspect of it is a torture that is unacceptable even by hopeless 21st-century standards. Mr. Sandler, who by contract should be legally prevented from ever appearing in a bathing suit, is George Simmons, a comedian famous for playing a mermaid and who has been on the cover of Rolling Stone. Mr. Rogen is Ira Wright, a wannabe disaster with a filing cabinet full of jokes about toilet activities and oral intercourse who gets selected to be his protégé. They meet cute in the comedy club’s parking lot. In no time, the green novice is running errands for the seasoned jokester and providing one-liners about diarrhea, masturbation, flatulence, fellatio and talking genitals, to the horror of his jealous roommate (Jason Schwartzman). For anyone with an I.Q. above 40, there is no relief in sight. If there is anyone more repulsive than Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, it is Jason Schwartzman, who also provided a musical score that makes construction-site jackhammers sound like Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.” Between batteries of blood tests and treatments, we get routines guaranteed to bore a kindergarten at recess. There is even a scene in which everybody takes turns rubbing peanut butter on their face and the dog licks it off. Talk about wasting time to drag out a movie by covering up the fact that there is no movie!

In every film, Mr. Sandler looks more retarded, but never mind. Just when the movie threatens to make a point about the death of comedy or the hypocrisy of the Hollywood laugh machine, his fatal, inoperable (and somewhat mysterious) disease goes into remission and George tries to get his ex-girlfriend back. Enter Leslie Mann, Mr. Apatow’s spouse, who has appeared in both of the director’s other moronic films, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up—a terrible actress who speaks through her sinus cavities and sounds like she has a speech impediment. For no logical reason, George and Ira pack off for hundreds of miles to the house in Marin County where Laura lives with her obnoxious children and her dopey Australian Muscle McGurk husband, played by Australian Muscle McGurk actor Eric Bana, who has seen better roles (and films) elsewhere. When he comes home and discovers they’ve rekindled their flirtation, a slugfest breaks out and … oh, what the F! This movie has been going nowhere, and it’s about to start now? There is nothing cute or cool or liberating about almost two and a half hours of X-rated excreta by criminally unfunny people feigning to be pros. Funny People seems to have been written with crayolas and directed on a cell phone. There’s probably a reason why the two meatheads are called George and Ira, but the irony is insulting.

This is a waste of two and a half hours of my life that I will never get back again. If you object to public offenses of decency, smut that reduces the oxygen in the brain or just plain lousy, amateurish filmmaking, it’s easy enough to avoid Funny People like the swine flu. Unfortunately, if you’re a movie critic, the luxury of self-protection is not an option.



Where Are All the Funny People?