I love Adam Sandler but after two and a half hours of his character, George Simmons, I started to dislike him intensely. Why, Adam, why?? I hope Mr. Sandler was meant to play this character as someone that would be despised despite his possibly life-threatening illness, because on that level he was a great success. Unfortunately, that was a large part of what made this film so bad - sure, he was going through something awful but he had almost no redeeming qualities and that really just made you hope his 'experimental drugs from Canada' wouldn't do the trick.
Leslie Mann's character - Laura - wasn't much better. Maybe it was the awkward way the relationship between Laura and George played out. Maybe it's just that I'm not a huge Leslie Mann fan. The first scene featuring Laura and George together was so uncomfortable, which may have been the intent, but it was the acting that didn't have me convinced.
Aubrey Plaza's character, Daisy, was so weirdly bland. I didn't buy this performance at all either. I think Ms. Plaza would probably be great in something along the lines of 'Ghostworld', but I could have done without her in 'Funny People'. She was so not funny.
The final thing that really irritated me (before I get on to what I actually enjoyed - yes, there were one or two bright spots) was that this movie was so wretchedly LONG. There was absolutely no need for the movie to run for two hours and twenty six minutes. At least an hours worth of what ended up on screen should have been on the cutting room floor.
I was surprised to see Paul Reiser make an appearance, but as my husband pointed out, the scene of George at a table with all of his older comedian buddies did make sense. What didn't make sense was the following scene at the restaurant - a party to celebrate George's bill of good health. What the fuck was Eminem doing in this or any other movie? Marshall, sweetie, you had 8 Mile. That was enough. As for the rest of the cameo's in this particular scene (and the one at George's house), I can only assume that Mr. Apatow was unable to say no to anyone who approached him and said 'Hey, Judd! I'm funny! Put me in your next movie!' Ugh. As a general rule, I'm not a big fan of cameo appearances. When done right, they have their place but sadly this was not a film of things done right.
As I said earlier though, I did like some things and they were:
Seth Rogen's character, Ira Wright, was a nice guy and it was believable that he would stick by George and try to help him. Having said that though, there was a point where I did find him a little too nice and he started to get a little sickly sweet. Poor Seth had to carry the bulk of this movie though, so I'll cut him a little slack.
The scenes between Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman were some of the best. I would have liked to have seen a lot more of these three together. Jonah Hill is hilarious just standing still and Jason Schwartzman is very rarely out of form.
Eric Bana! I thought he was hilarious (but I will admit that I am a little biased when it comes to all things Australian). I don't think I've heard him bust out his Aussie accent since the sketch comedy show 'Full Frontal'. He doesn't do nearly enough comedy these days.
I will say this - 'Funny People' contains the best explanation ever for how a game of Aussie Rules footy is played. That's the most glowing recommendation I can give for this movie and the scene lasted only mere moments.
In the end, all I can do is suggest that you go with the next movie pick on your list. If you must see this, wait until it comes out on video. Even then, make sure you have a 1/2 off coupon, or steal it. Trust me, even if you get if for free, you'll want a refund.