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Funny People

film poster
Directed by Judd Apatow
Produced by Judd Apatow
Clayton Townsend
Barry Mendel
Seth Rogen
Evan Goldberg
Jack Giarraputo
Written by Judd Apatow
Starring Adam Sandler
Seth Rogen
Leslie Mann
Eric Bana
Jonah Hill
Jason Schwartzman
Aubrey Plaza
Music by Jason Schwartzman
Michael Andrews
Cinematography Janusz Kamiński
Editing by Craig Alpert
Brent White
Studio Relativity Media
Apatow Productions
Mr. Madison 23 Productions
Distributed by Universal Studios
Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) July 31, 2009 (2009-07-31)
Running time 146 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $75 million[1]
Gross revenue $71 million[1]

Funny People is a 2009 American comedy-drama film, written, co-produced, and directed by Judd Apatow, and starring Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen as stand-up comedians. The film was released on July 31, 2009 in North America, and on August 28, 2009 in the UK. Funny People implements more dramatic elements than seen in Apatow's previous films. The film was co-produced by Apatow Productions and Mr. Madison 23 Productions, a subsidiary of Sandler's company Happy Madison. Universal Studios and Columbia Pictures co-financed the film and Universal also served as a worldwide distributor.[2]

Contents

Plot

George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is an extremely successful comedian and actor. But he is very self-absorbed, lonely and estranged from his family by choice. He is subsequently diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and is informed that traditional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation would be unlikely to benefit him, so he embarks on an experimental treatment with an 8% chance of response. Consequently, he falls into a depression and upon seeing old tapes of his standup days, he decides to return to his roots and do stand-up comedy.

Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) is an aspiring stand-up comedian who dreams of quitting his day job. George and Ira meet at a comedy club, where George unexpectedly takes the stage to deliver a dark routine. Ira is forced to follow and draws some laughs by mocking George's morbidity as he watches from the back. George calls Ira the next morning asking him to write jokes for him to perform at a MySpace corporate event.

The event goes well and George hires Ira as an assistant. George informs Ira of his condition and Ira cares for George through the treatment. Eventually, Ira breaks down, begging George to tell people about his prognosis. While in the process of telling his friends, George is visited by his ex-fiancée, Laura (Leslie Mann). She is married to Clarke, who is cheating on her while away on business. She regrets leaving George and they reconcile.

George sees his doctor and learns that the medicine has worked; he has no traces of the disease, but it could resurface. Ira is happy but George is unsure what to do with his life. He decides he wants a long-term relationship and calls Laura, but does not tell her the news. George and Ira go to San Francisco to perform; Laura meets them there. George makes Ira tell Laura during intermission that he is better. George later explains that he didn't want to jinx it. They embrace and she invites George and Ira to her house in Northern California.

George and Ira spend time with his and her daughters. George and Laura sneak into the guest house, and George performs cunnilingus on her. Ira tells both daughters that George is healthy now. Clarke unexpectedly arrives home; Laura asks George and Ira to keep up the façade of George still being sick.

In the morning, Clarke gives George a tearful goodbye. His daughters reveal that George is actually healthy. Clarke confronts Laura and suspects she is cheating. Laura tries to explain that George may not be entirely better and calls Clarke out on his infidelity so Clarke drives off. Laura decides to leave him. Ira thinks George should leave because it is not worth it to ruin a twelve-year marriage, but George threatens to fire him.

The next day, George, Ira, and Laura watch video of her daughter Mabel performing "Memory" from Cats. Ira and Laura find the performance moving, but George thinks it's hilarious and offends Laura. Laura leaves for the airport to tell Clarke she is leaving him. Ira lies to George and follows her. Clarke tells Laura that he wants to give their marriage another try. Laura agrees and says her fling with George was just a flirtation. Ira gets caught by Clarke trying to sneak away. Laura is forced to tell Clarke she slept with George.

Clarke chases George out of his house, throwing fists at him. George asks Laura to explain but she sides with her husband. Heading back to Los Angeles, George berates Ira for his betrayal and fires him. Ira fires back at George for not learning from his experience and that his insensitivity hasn't changed.

Ira goes back to his old job. George attends Ira's stand-up and watches him being much more confident on stage. The next day, George finds Ira at work and admits that even though he is no longer sick, his attitude needs improvement. George offers Ira jokes he wrote down, proving he is making an attempt to become a better person.

Cast

Leslie Mann, Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow in Berlin (2009)

Dave Attell, Sarah Silverman, Norm MacDonald, Paul Reiser, Tom Anderson, Charles Fleischer, George Wallace, and Andy Dick filmed cameo appearances as themselves, who are acquainted with George.[3] Rapper Eminem,[4] comedian Ray Romano, musician James Taylor,[5] MADtv member Nicole Parker,[6] and newcomer Bo Burnham[7] also appeared in small roles. Undeclared alum Carla Gallo had a cameo in the film as a character on Yo Teach!, the television show within the film that Mark stars in,[8] while Justin Long and Apatow regular Ken Jeong have cameos in the film as characters in movies for which George is famous.[9] Owen Wilson and Elizabeth Banks are featured on posters for fake movies in which George starred.[10]. Bryan Batt makes an appearance as George's agent. Musicians Jon Brion, Sebastian Steinberg, and James Gadson appear in the film as members of George's jam band. Comedians Rod Man, Budd Friedman, Monty Hoffman, Mark Schiff, Orny Adams, Al Lubel, and Jerry Minor appear as themselves. Comedienne/producer/writer Carol Leifer appears as herself. Peter Boffemmyer plays as sitting man in doctors office.

Production

Judd Apatow had expressed his desire to make a stand-up comedian mentor film loosely based on his own early experiences as a struggling performer. He could not come up with an interesting idea since most of his mentors were kind to him. He then thought of making a film about a mentor facing a life crisis, and decided to have his former roommate Adam Sandler play that role. The two of them discussed making the film almost two years prior to production.[11]

Apatow had cast Sandler, Seth Rogen, and Leslie Mann as the three leads in March 2008.[12] Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, and Jason Schwartzman were later cast in June 2008 when the title of the film was announced. When asked about the decision to cast Bana, Apatow said that both he and Rogen are fans of his films as well as his sketch comedy work in his native Australia.[11] Rogen additionally commented they cast him as Leslie Mann's character's husband because he was someone who would be considered an intimidating presence to both Sandler and Rogen.[13] Bana mentioned that he decided to make his character an Australian so he could improvise more.[14]

Academy Award-winning cinematographer Janusz Kamiński handled the cinematography for the film. Apatow had Sandler, Rogen, and Hill, who all played stand-ups in the film, write their own material for routines. Apatow filmed them performing their routines in front of live audiences, using six cameras to capture their performances and audience reactions. Apatow filmed their entire performances, although only five to ten minutes of stand-up footage appear in the film. Hill admitted his performance was not well-received because he has never done stand-up. Additionally, Apatow filmed scenes from Sandler's character's fictional filmography, as well as scenes from Schwartzman's character's fictional television show Yo Teach!, for the film to add realism.[15]

Apatow used an old video of Sandler, from when the two were roommates, in which Sandler makes prank phone calls.

Marketing

The first teaser poster for the film was released November 13, 2008. On the day the teaser poster was released, Universal Pictures and MySpace partnered together to create a contest that would allow people to have a part in the film by just writing a comment explaining why. Additionally, Apatow held a stand-up comedy concert event called "A Night of Funny People" at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles to film a scene for the movie. The event was open to the general public and featured acts by Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman, David Spade, and Patton Oswalt, with Sandler, Rogen, and Ansari performing as their characters in the film. The first theatrical trailer for the film was released February 20, 2009 on the Internet, with a shortened version first appearing in theaters with I Love You, Man.

A website for a fictional television show-within-a-film was created on NBC.com.[16] The sitcom, Yo Teach!, "stars" the film's egocentric character Mark Taylor Jackson (Jason Schwartzman), who is a C-list actor portraying a young teacher with a class of failing students, and includes a cameo by internet celebrity Bo Burnham.[17]

A website for Aziz Ansari's character Randy Springs was created, along with a documentary of the character on FunnyOrDie.com. The documentary was directed by Jason Woliner.

Comedy Central aired a special, "Inside Funny People" on July 20, documenting the making of the film and showing clips of the stand-up. The channel also aired "Funny People: Live" on Friday, July 24, which is a live broadcast stand-up of Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, and Jonah Hill as part of the film's promotion.

Release

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Critical reception

Funny People received good-to-mixed reviews from the critics and currently holds a 68% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 71% "Fresh" rating among Top Critics, based on the consensus that the film "features the requisite humor, as well as considerable emotional depth, resulting in Judd Apatow's most mature film to date."[18] Another review aggregator, Metacritic, gave the film a metascore of 60 out of 100 under the "Mixed or Average Reviews" category, based on 35 reviews.[19]

Jeffrey Wells from Hollywood Elsewhere received feedback from sources who had seen a test screening, with one source calling it "really funny, a really sweet movie, a lot of veracity...really a brilliant film", comparing it to the works of James L. Brooks.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film 3½ stars of four, calling it "a real movie. That means carefully written dialogue and carefully placed supporting performances — and it's about something. It could have easily been a formula film...but George Simmons learns and changes during his ordeal, and we empathize."[20] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone also praised the film, writing, "Apatow scores by crafting the film equivalent of a stand-up routine that encompasses the joy, pain, anger, loneliness and aching doubt that go into making an audience laugh."[21] Kyle Smith of the New York Post wrote that the film was "one of the most absorbing films of the year."[22]

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film one of its mixed reviews, complaining of the film's two-and-a-half-hour running time: "Funny People is...an attempt by Apatow to reconcile the huge success he has become with the up-and-comer he once was. The results run an increasingly exasperating 2 1/2 hours."[23]

Box office

Funny People was commercially released on July 31, 2009 in the United States and Canada. It was distributed to 3,008 theaters, and grossed $8.63 million on its opening day.[1] At the end of its opening weekend, the film had grossed $23.44 million, eventually making around $71 million[24] worldwide in theatres. The film was not a financial success. In comparison, Apatow's previous directorial effort, Knocked Up was produced for $33 million, and grossed over $219 million.

Home Video

Funny People was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the USA on November 24, 2009. There will be a one-disc "Unrated & Theatrical" cut and a two-disc "Unrated Edition". The Unrated cut of the film runs at 153 minutes, 8 minutes longer than the original theatrical cut. It was released in the United Kingdom on Monday, 18th January 2010, again, on DVD and Blu-Ray. [25]

Soundtrack

Funny People: Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack by Various Artists
Released July 28, 2009
Genre Soundtrack
Label Concord Records
Professional reviews

The soundtrack of Funny People was released on July 28, 2009.

  1. "Great Day" by Paul McCartney (2:08)
  2. "Wires" by Coconut Records (2:26)
  3. "All the King's Horses" by Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation (4:19)
  4. "Carolina In My Mind (Live)" by James Taylor (4:58)
  5. "Keep Me In Your Heart" by Warren Zevon (3:27)
  6. "Real Love" by Adam Sandler (4:56)
  7. "We (Early Take)" by Neil Diamond (4:11)
  8. "Jesus, Etc. (Live Summer '08)" by Wilco feat. Andrew Bird (4:01)
  9. "George Simmons Soon Will Be Gone" by Adam Sandler (2:15)
  10. "I Am Young" by Coconut Records (3:07)
  11. "Memory" by Larry Goldings & Maude Apatow (3:53)
  12. "Numb As A Statue" by Warren Zevon (4:07)
  13. "Photograph" by Ringo Starr (3:58)
  14. "Watching the Wheels (Acoustic Demo)" by John Lennon (3:06)

Bonus tracks on iTunes release:

  1. "Secret O' Life (Live)" by James Taylor (3:45)
  2. "Photograph (Live)" by Adam Sandler (2:55)
  3. "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" by Adam Sandler (4:02)
  4. "Nighttiming" by Coconut Records (2:48)

The film also features "Joanna" by Kool & The Gang, "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley, "Diamond Dave" by The Bird and the Bee, "Man in the Box" by Alice in Chains, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes, "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles, "In Private" by Paul McCartney, and "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" by George Harrison.

The Bluray and 2-Disc DVD also includes Adam Sandler performing The English Beat's "Save It For Later."

Additional songs used in the film's trailers are "We Will Become Silhouettes" by The Postal Service, "My Friend" by Dr. Dog, and "Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (Again)" by Wilco.

References

  1. ^ a b c "Funny People (2009)". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=funnypeople.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  2. ^ Michael Fleming (2008-06-11). "Trio joins Judd Apatow film". Variety (Reed Business Information). http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117987337.html. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  3. ^ "Stand-Up Comedian Cameos in Judd Apatow’s Funny People". Slashfilm.com. 2008-12-17. http://www.slashfilm.com/2008/12/17/stand-up-comedian-cameos-in-judd-apatows-funny-people/. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Eminem In New Judd Apatow "Funny People" Movie". Rap Basement. 2009-05-16. http://www.rapbasement.com/eminem/051509-eminem-reveals-that-he-makes-a-cameo-in-the-new-judd-apatow-movie-funny-people.html. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  5. ^ Mark Shanahan and Paysha Rhone (2009-01-08). "Taylors turn to film". The Boston Globe (Globe Newspaper Company). http://www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/articles/2009/01/08/here_comes_the_bride/?page=2. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  6. ^ "MADtv's Nicole Parker Joins Wicked as Elphaba Beginning January 16". Broadwayworld.com. 2009-01-07. http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/MADtvs_Nicole_Parker_Joins_Wicked_as_Elphaba_Beginning_January_16_20010101. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  7. ^ From YouTube to Hollywood
  8. ^ "Carla Gallo Exclusive Video Interview". Collider.com. 2009-01-09. http://www.collider.com/entertainment/interviews/article.asp?aid=10411&tcid=1. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  9. ^ "Dr. Kuni Speaks". IGN.com. 2009-03-04. http://dvd.ign.com/articles/958/958665p1.html. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  10. ^ "Judd Apatow Reveals Adam Sandler’s ‘Funny’ Films With Owen Wilson, Elizabeth Banks and More". MTV Movie Blog. 2009-05-11. http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2009/05/11/judd-apatow-reveals-adam-sandlers-funny-films-with-owen-wilson-elizabeth-banks-and-more/. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  11. ^ a b "Funny People Set Visit: Judd Apatow". Comingsoon.net. 2009-04-07. http://www.comingsoon.net/news/interviewsnews.php?id=54255. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  12. ^ "Sandler reteams with Apatow". Variety. 2008-03-09. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117982103.html?categoryid=13&cs=1. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  13. ^ "Eric Bana teaches AFL to Seth Rogan". The West Australian. 2009-03-05. http://www.thewest.com.au/aapstory.aspx?StoryName=556045. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  14. ^ "Australians Are Extra Insane: Bana". Empire Online. 2009-04-08. http://www.empireonline.com.au/news/story.asp?nid=1000004459. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  15. ^ "Judd Apatow Wants You To ‘Enjoy The Ride’ Of ‘Funny People’ For 2.5 Hours…Then Watch The Super-Long DVD". MTV Movie Blog. 2009-05-07. http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2009/05/07/judd-apatow-wants-you-to-enjoy-the-ride-of-funny-people-for-25-hoursthen-watch-the-super-long-dvd/. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  16. ^ http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/2008-12-6-motion-captured/posts/2009-5-3-the-morning-read-5-29-09
  17. ^ http://newteevee.com/2009/05/29/bo-burnham-gets-schooled-in-yo-teach/
  18. ^ "Funny People". Rotten Tomatoes. 2009-08-10. http://au.rottentomatoes.com/m/funny_people/. 
  19. ^ People "Funny People". Metacritic. 2009-08-10. http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/funnypeople?q=Funny People. 
  20. ^ "Roger Ebert's review". Roger Ebert. 2009-07-30. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090729/REVIEWS/907299997. 
  21. ^ Funny People : Review : Rolling Stone
  22. ^ WIENERS & WOODY IN JUDD APATOW'S 'FUNNY PEOPLE' - New York Post
  23. ^ 'Funny People' stars Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann -- chicagotribune.com
  24. ^ Boxofficemojo Data
  25. ^ Amazon Home Video details

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