433) Funny People (2009) Dir: Judd Apatow Date Released: July 2009 Date Seen: December 6, 2009 Rating: 3/5
No matter how supposedly mature the strident moral judgments of Judd Apatow's comedies are, they have only ever provided his films with the hint of maturity that viewers need to feel good about laughing at a lot of really good dick, fart and nerdy jokes. That's why the comedies he's directed have been a series of diminishing returns: they began to believe their own hype. The urge to proselytize faux-self-deprecatingly about the importance of family, having kids and maintaining absolute honesty in any kind of relationship overwhelms Apatow and it even threatened to sink The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005), his first and best film. By the time you get to his latest film, Funny People, a comedy about mortality, failing at your dream job, selling out and being a good lover and parent all at once, the man knows he's his own cottage industry. There's no whim he doesn't indulge in Funny People: he happily drowns Seth Rogen's impish but emotionally honest performance and Leslie Mann and Eric Bana's equally great supporting roles in cameos and the inescapable opulence of the characters' lives. They're sad and while they don't care that they're all lower to middle-upper class folk and modestly to very attractive, the film spends most of its time soaking up that same affluence (Look it's Ray Romano getting dissed by Eminem! Soak up the West Coast sun with the terminal comedian by the gigundo swimming pool or the balcony overlooking his carefully landscaped courtyard! Be sad while looking good!). I laughed but if you honestly expect me to feel emotionally involved in a film that ends with a line about an old man "titty-fucking his balls"....spare me.