Dueling Film Reviews - Round One: WHayes on "Funny People"

Posted 5/21/2010 by WHayes in Labels: , , , , ,
Funny People has been in our pipeline for a while, but I was never sure of the right context to review it. Everything I knew about the movie before seeing it put it on a tough pedestal. Finally seeing it left me with one question: I wonder if its possible for us to have simply too much baggage to make real, lasting catharsis?

The film, like plenty of others, was laden with heavy product placement and cameos. I don't think they were distracting, but they do make me question how effective that type of "bucket list" of making all the amends you can before the end really is. Seeing all the people, making all the apologies, getting all the advice. Would that process cloud your final catharsis or would you hold to the mantra, like George, how "if you love somebody, don't let them slip away," sealing you in a moment that may not be all that peaceful?

In fact, by the time we get to George's bar party, with its blitzkreig of cameos, the film makes the point for me: where they were at first organic, their presence becomes clouded and distracting until he leaves to talk to Laura. I hesitate to call the movie inconsistent, so I'll just look at it like its all very meta. As George focuses in on what's truly important to him, so does Funny People. George "got a peek at something most people only get to see once." Like Eminem says, what do you do after that point? Where do you go when you peak? I can't tell when Funny People peaked, as it its marathon length gives us plenty of time for ups and downs - yet another mirror of how muddy real relationships are. Laura and George peak after reconnecting, having a tough realization that reuniting might not be everything they hoped. We make plans to fix our lives ad infinitum, but when it comes down to the moment where we could heal or hurt, its far too easy to get thrown off track again. If Funny People tells us anything, its that life is simply too complicated to make a clean break from an old way of thinking. We shouldn't swing for a fence we may not reach, but should instead go for the experience. "We have to learn from this," the movie says, and hopefully we will.

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