Dueling Film Reviews - Round Two: WHayes on JDub

Posted 5/28/2010 by WHayes in Labels: , , , , ,
So lets keep with the "we'll call it meta" motif for this second round. In his review, Jon cites Funny People's main faults as its length and inconsistency in taking what could have been played as a straightforward drama (with occasional comic relief, like the Saul Goodman character in Breaking Bad) and instead shoehorning in random lighthearted moments, many of which dependent on a celebrity cameo to play well.

Length is a problem in any film. Too short is not enough, and if the extreme isn't handled well you wind up with less Berlin Alexanderplatz (15 damn hours) and more Fellowship of the Ring. I wonder, however, why there isn't a place for a mainstream movie to play with enough running time to figure out exactly what it wants to say, as happens here? The obvious answer is "because we didn't pay $20 each to see an art film," and you'd be right in saying so. Good art films come cheap (with free wine) at local galleries. For the amount of money swirling behind a big budget drama/comedy like this, we won't be happy giving up the gun unless we're damn sure the trip has a set destination, and that its worth it. Yet, if this movie is trying to imitate the real lives of its subjects (comedians) as much as Apatow and co. say it is, then why shouldn't it ramble and drift a little, as life does?

That leeway to ramble costs the film, however, a consistent tone. Thankfully we get solid performances to smooth out the rough spots. Since Adam Sandler is essentially playing himself (his Earth-2 counterpart, if you will), we do get to see his natural reaction to the now-valueless trappings he's surrounded himself with.

Does he reject them outright as Jon says? Not entirely, as he still indulges in the occasional groupie (even when she tells him to do soul-crushing impressions from older movies during coitus). Rather, I think we just get a window into what the character always felt about his life, be it the terrible movies, copious amounts of pointless promotional swag, or his 'bucket list' of people to reconnect with before the end. The swag is still pandering bullshit (yet he finally has a reason to give it away), the groupie's are still a generation removed from being people he could form a real connection to, and the bucket list is still the mix of refreshing (like with Andy Dick), and tediously embarrassing (like with his sister) that it always would have been.

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