George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is a famous actor/comedian who suddenly gains the knowledge that he's dying of a rare blood disease. Ira (Seth Rogen) is a wannabe comic who lives with his friends Leo (Jonah Hill) and Mark (Jason Schwartzman), another up-and-comer who is somewhat famous due to starring in a crappy sitcom. George is a loner and a loser who still pines for his almost-wife, Laura (Leslie Mann), who is married to an Australian businessman, Clarke (Eric Bana). Ira just has a major crush on a fellow comedian, Daisy (Aubrey Plaza), but Mark is only giving him 10 days to make him move or he's making his own. But after an awkward stand-up session, George notices Ira and ends up hiring him on as his assistant to write his jokes and do chores and whatnot for him. And... well, there really isn't much of a plot. It's just these people interacting with each other and how they deal with George's sickness.
And for a movie with not a hell-of-a-lot happening, it really has no reason to be 2 and a half hours long. The movie tries to do too many things, I think, and one idea seems to be pushed to the side for another idea, only then Apatow realizes he should probably wrap up that previous idea, so he has to come back to that.
Is the movie funny? Sometimes. There were no real big belly laughs. It was only a chuckle every now and then, some longer than others, but not much more than that. And after a promising opening, it takes quite a while to get even to that point. But I know what you're saying, "this isn't supposed to be a comedy. It's supposed to be a look into the serious side of comics." Because, really, funny people always have the most depressing lives, it seems. And the movie shows that. Similarly, earlier this year we had Adventureland, another movie marketed as a comedy when it wasn't really. The difference? I think Adventureland worked better as a dramedy and didn't seem to try nearly as hard as Funny People.
I think the best thing about the movie was its cameos. The best scene in the whole movie, ironically, was the one with a non-comedian: Eminem (okay, so Ray Romano was in the scene, too, which led to the best line in the movie). I also loved Bo Burnham, as small of a role as he had. They should have given him more to do. That kid's hilarious (watch either his YouTube stuff or his Comedy Central stand-up).
As for the main cast, they actually acted their respective parts incredibly well. Honestly, everybody did a great acting job. But everybody was a freaking a-hole. In fact, the only characters I full-out liked (besides Seth Rogen's sympathetic everyman) were the two characters who were supposed to be the a-holes of the movie: Jason Schwartzman and Eric Bana. I think those two had the best roles in the movie, particularly Schwartzman. Oh, and I think I have a new celeb crush on Aubrey Plaza. She looked amazing in this movie... and she acted well, too, of course. But seriously, besides a couple characters, everybody is near hatable, including Sandler's George, who is the worst of the bunch on the hate-o-meter. I don't think I once felt sympathy for his character, and the ending seemed a bit forced in trying to get you to like him before the credits rolled.
All-in-all, I might enjoy it more after another watch, though it might be a while before that happens. It is a good movie. I liked it. But my biggest fault with Apatow's Knocked Up was that it was way too serious (and probably, if it weren't for Ken Jeong at the end, I don't think I would have liked it too much). Not to mention that movie was also filled with unlikable characters. Apatow did the opposite of what I would have liked. He amped up the drama and the unlikable characters and decreased the funny to the point where the movie mostly feels unbalanced. At least the a-holes in 40-Year-Old-Virgin were charming and funny, mostly due to the wit of the film. The only other thing I can say about this film is that, surprisingly, the cinematography/camera work was really good. It was really different than the other two films. It was more experimental and cinematic, I think. Anyway, my score is probably surprising due to my negative comments, but I honestly did enjoy the film for what it was.
I Am McLovin!