Friday, April 24, 2009

Un-'Funny People'

Is it me, or is the trailer for Judd Apatow's new comedy, "Funny People," conspicuously not funny? Yes, I gather that it's about actual, professional funny people (i.e. comedians), and that Apatow is looking to dig a little deeper into the soul this time out, but let's face it -- the man is the surest bet out there right now for a decent laugh, and this preview makes the film look like it has as many of those as a bad title from the Adam Sandler oeuvre. And since this one stars Sandler, is it set to join the once-uproarious leading man's crap pile?

Probably not. Thus far, Apatow has exhibited levels of taste and wit that run circles around practically everything Sandler's done in the last decade (okay, we'll give him a pass for "Punch-Drunk Love"). And yet, "Funny People" appears to be some sort of fan fiction by the writer/director in honor of Sandler's comparatively low-brow career. In it, Mr. Happy Madison stars as a famous standup comedian-turned movie star -- what a stretch -- who comes down with a deadly disease, gets mucho support from friends and colleagues and, apparently, survives. Might this be a metaphor for what's happening between Sandler and the Apatow camp? Having no doubt been inundated with movies like "Big Daddy" and -- choke -- "The Waterboy" during their ascent to fame, is "Funny People" Apatow and co.'s way of paying back Sandler for his comedic influences and thus reviving his street cred.? Sure smells like it, and it's not a funny smell.

I sure hope this flick doesn't tarnish the Apatow anthology. There are so many things I love about him and his posse, especially their shameless love of cinema (raise your hand if you thought of the "Munich" convo in "Knocked Up" when Eric Bana appeared).

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