Funny People

Dilemma: on the one hand there’s Judd Apatow, Comedy King of Hollywood, bringing along his usuals (Rogen, Hill and real-life wife Leslie Mann) and two talented actors new to his world, but not new to comedy – Schwartzman, hilarious in I Heart Huckabees and due to break out with a mysterious role in next year’s Scott Pilgrim if this film doesn’t do it first, and Eric Bana who apparently began his career in sketch comedy. On the other hand, there’s Adam Sandler.

Now don’t get me wrong, he’s kinda funny if you just want light amusement or if you’re ten years old, as I was when I first came across him, but it’s been nearly 15 years since Billy Madison came out and he’s still playing the same simpleton manchild act. And, in my opinion at least, not nearly as well as Will Ferrell. So what we have here is an interesting proposition: a meaty role, with serious themes, in a film that should have genuine emotional attachment from its stars.

Apatow and nearly all of his main cast used to do stand-up (yes, even the Hulk), and Total Film’s review of Knocked Up can, in retrospect, reveal something about this film:

Apatow once claimed he could only “write funny” from inside other people’s heads, never his own. Looks like he’s now cleared that hurdle, casting his real-life wife (Mann) to play out a relationship with at least one foot in his own experience.

He may not be dying of cancer, but it’s clear he’s since gone a step further – a welcome move for anyone who feel that his films can be flimsy. There’s the danger, of course, that it might be too sentimental, but I feel this is the direction Apatow and gang, and especially Sandler, should be going. Eagerly awaiting the film and jealous of those going to the previews on the 25th of August.

For free tickets for this film, join the forum and look in the Free Films board.

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