Funny People

Release Date: July 31, 2009

Movie of the Day for Wednesday, April 8, 2009
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Wait, so you're saying you do want to mess with the Zohan?

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
19/82 Kelly Metz Not nearly as gloom-and-doom as I had expected but not hilarious, either. Worth seeing for the Eminem/Ray Romano bit. Love story subplot was not needed - very silly by the end.
47/169 Max Braden This is a decent light comedy drama if you don't go in expecting gutbusting jokes.

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In the notoriously finicky world of Hollywood, funny men don't tend to stay on top very long. The hot "it" person one year (think: Jim Carrey circa 1994-1997) is soon replaced by another (such as Mike Myers 1997-2001). Even Adam Sandler, who has managed to buck the trend and maintain a fairly steady stream of impressive (if not always particularly funny) hit movies, has begun to show signs of audience fatigue.

On the other hand, in recent years writer-director-producer Judd Apatow has created a certified name for himself. He is now "it". After finding cult success on TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, he broke through big time with The 40 Year-Old Virgin and then Knocked Up. He has also written and produced a number of other hits. He isn't the star of his films, but his name is as much a draw as the stars that he has recruited such as Steve Carell, Katherine Heigl, and Seth Rogen. And for the most part up until now, Judd Apatow and his merry band of pranksters have been a fairly tight knit group, only letting the occasional outsider join in the fun. But an upcoming Apatow movie will star the very same Adam Sandler that we just mentioned.

Adding Sandler is a big deal. With just a couple exceptions (for instance, P.T. Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love) movies that Sandler stars in are "Adam Sandler Movies" through and through. In his Summer 2008 release Don't Mess With Zohan, Apatow was actually a co-writer, but his typical brand of humor didn't really show very much. This will be his first directorial effort since Knocked Up. The new movie is called Funny People and, appropriately enough, it is about the world of stand-up comedy. There are few other details known about the plot at this time, other than that it centers around a guy (presumably played by Sandler) who has a near-death experience.

Other outsiders in the cast include Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore) and Eric Bana (The Hulk), while Apatow regulars Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Leslie Mann are also on board. It's far to soon to say how well the high-voltage Sandler will adapt to the team or how good the movie will actually be, but one thing is almost certain: it will be one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2009. If Sandler doesn't add yet another $100 million domestic grosser to his resume, I'll eat my shoe. (Michael Bentley/BOP)

Vital statistics for Funny People
Main Cast Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann
Supporting Cast Eric Bana, Jason Schwartzman, Jonah Hill
Director Judd Apatow
Screenwriter Judd Apatow
Distributor Universal
Screen Count 3,008
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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