“Knocked Up’s” Judd Apatow debuts his third film this week, “Funny People,” and quite honestly it’s his best directorial effort so far.
While not perfect (a good 20 min could have been cut), the film is an entertaining and at times touching comedy that follows George, a comedic superstar (Adam Sandler) who hires Ira, a young stand up performer (Seth Rogen) to be his assistant and help write jokes for him. Complicating matters is George’s secret terminal illness which has him wistful for the mistakes his made in his life such as destroying his relationship with former girlfriend Laura (the lovely Leslie Mann).
While George’s dramatic storyline and relationship with Ira are confidently handled by Apatow, it’s the triumvirate of Ira and his two “friends” Mark (Jason Schwartzman) and Leo (Jonah Hill) which make the biggest impression. All in their mid-20s, the trio are a snapshot of struggling, young, Hollywood actors whose industry competitiveness will eventually drift them apart (the flip and more realistic side of “Entourage”). For anyone who has lived in Los Angeles with actor friends, the conversations and conflicts between Ira, Mark and Leo will all seem very familiar.
To get a quick taste of “Funny People,” check out these four new, um, funny clips from the film including Laura arguing with her husband Clarke (Eric Bana) and George asking Ira to kill him only to get a surprising reply.
“Funny People” opens nationwide this Friday.