"You're my best friend, and I don't even like you."I'm not an Adam Sandler fan, so I had my reservations about watching this new flick, co-starring Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann. But when my friend came into town from Connecticut wanting to see it, I gave in. I thought, if anything, Mann and Rogen will turn out to be the awesome twosome like they were in Knocked Up, also directed by funnyman Judd Apatow. Funny People follows a famous comedian (Sandler) who learns he has a terminal illness just when he realizes that his life, and career, was at a crossroads. He's a single, middle-aged man living in a beautiful Hollywood home adored by legions of fans all over, including countless women with whom he had one night stands, who, when faced with death, realizes that he has nothing to show for it. And even with all those surrounding him (gardener, housekeeper, a personal assistant [played by Rogen], etc.), he's still lonely and managed to screw up the relationship with the only woman he's ever truly loved twelve years ago.
This is a smart movie, one that's very unexpected. Rogen is actually the comedic relief in the movie, and Sandler is the darker character adding a stark dramedic effect to the movie.
I couldn't help but to briefly compare Sandler's character to so many Hollywood stars who give so much to their craft and get so swept up in the Hollywood life that they lose sight of what's important and, once realized, it's too late. As glitzy as Hollywood seems, there's an underlying cloud of loneliness that hovers over the city of angels, even in times of laughter and smiles. This movie captured that well, but didn't beat us over the head with it. It was just understood.
But don't get me wrong--the movie was certainly not all gloom and doom. It was a good mix of both dark and light comedy. The latter provided mostly by Rogen and his sidekick roommates and the former beautifully captured by Sandler who not only showed a new side of himself as an actor, but also passed the torch to a new age of comedians, while also paying homage to those who came before him.
My rating: A-