“Funny People”: Characters Could Use Some Therapy

Featuring “funny people” who aren’t necessarily happy people, the movie Funny People (2009) was written and directed by Judd Apatow, a former stand-up comic. It stars Adam Sandler as George Simmons, a successful comedian who discovers that he has a serious illness. Several other main characters are also comedians, and there are a good number of cameos by such actual comedic stars as Ray Romano and Sarah Silverman.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone raved that “…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.”

And Patrick Bromley, a critic who’s also been a comic, wrote the following:

What the film really gets, and what most previous stand-up movies haven’t, is the psychology of the comic. The comedians in Funny People are, for the most part, dark and angry people who don’t want to be funny so much as they need it; it’s the only tool that makes something like facing down your own death even possible. Comedy is both defense and offense, and provides the characters with a means of communicating with one another that the outside world simply cannot understand.

As far as I know, however, no one in the movie goes to therapy.

If the idea of this movie interests you, and you’re not as turned off as I’ve been when reading the mixed reviews that attest to the length (2 and 1/2 hours) and a significant dose of crude language and sexual jokes, please check it out for yourself.

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