Funny People
R
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -4

Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, RZA, Aubrey Plaza, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow. Comedy. Written and Directed by Judd Apatow.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In his usual irreverent way, filmmaker Judd Apatow directs this story of a famous comedian who has a near-death experience. Unable to have a substantial relationship with anyone, he hires a struggling standup comedian to help him through his ordeal. A dark soul, the comedian begins to face his fears and shortcomings and attempts to renew a relationship with a former girlfriend, now wed with two children.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Though his film, like many others from the desensitized filmmaker (Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), contains themes of repentance where characters become better people by film’s end, Mr. Apatow leans on uncouth situations and filthy language to express human development. Is this progress? Is this what we have become – disciples of Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen?

Sandler is witty and does a credible job with the more dramatic moments. There are even a couple of scenes that pluck at the heartstrings. But while Mr. Apatow continues to present his story with a sweet-natured vulgarity, filmgoers are once again bombarded by raunchy situations and words that make the ears bleed. I amend that statement. Words that used to make the ears bleed. Most fans of the cast and director are now desensitized and accept blue material as high art.

Though much of comedy is built on outrageousness, there comes a point when the abuse of language becomes a sad commentary on society’s moral torpor. Earlier this year, for example, Seth Rogen, this generation’s guru of grime, starred in the security cop comedy Observe and Report. With 160 uses of the f-word alone, not to mention every other obscenity he could muster, plus insensitive gags about casual drug use and mall shootings, he took the genre to a new low. But he will be outdone. His comedy contemporaries Mike Myers, Ben Stiller and Jason Segal, along with the entire cast of this film, are also not content with bathroom humor, preferring to spend much of their screen time in the sewer. And there are a great many people willing to sludge around in these cesspools of soporific stench, somehow believing this is the genesis for all things funny.

I’ve never really understood blue humor, because it always seemed a cheap way to get a laugh. It depends mostly on shock value. “I can’t believe I just heard that!” So, we either groan or laugh. A play on words, satire, comedy of manners, and farce always take a backseat when these guys (and gals) do standup. Oh, what they leave out, or have forgotten, or are unable to create.

Examples:

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, this is the war room!" --An outraged President Muffley (Peter Sellers), in Dr. Strangelove.

"I see...the pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true." --Danny Kaye making sure not to drink the potion meant for his jousting opponent in The Court Jester.

"Sir, you try my patience!" from a frustrated Minister of War. 
"I don't mind if I do. You must come over and try mine sometime.” -- Prime Minister Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) in Duck Soup.

“I sort of wish you hadn't done that, Hildy...Makes a fellow lose all faith in himself. Gives him, well, it gives him a feeling he's not wanted.”
"Now, look, Junior, that's what divorces are for.” -- Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday.

"I got brown sandwiches and green sandwiches. Which one do you want?"
"What's the green?"
"It's either very new cheese or very old meat.” -- Oscar (Walter Matthau) to Murray the Cop (Herb Edelman) in The Odd Couple.

“We were young, gay, reckless! The night I drank champagne from your slipper – two quarts. It would have held more, but you were wearing innersoles.” --Groucho Marx to Margaret Dumont in At the Circus.

"It's lavish, but I call it home." --the snobbish Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) in Laura.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Universal

Summary
Crude Language: Crude, crass, and vulgar language from nearly every character – throughout.
Obscene Language: It would take an accountant to keep track of the obscene language, where the f-word seems to accentuate every scene; an extended rift on flatulence, masturbation and oral sex “highlight” the standup routines featured.
Profanity: God’s name is profaned once and Christ’s is misused four or five times.
Violence: A fistfight breaks out.
Sexual Intercourse: Three graphic sex scenes.
Nudity: One scene features a topless woman as she is having sex with the Sandler character.
Homosexual Conduct: A couple of gay jokes.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: A supporting character smokes pot in one scene; drinking throughout.
Other: Adultery is committed, but the wife and husband forgive one another, rediscovering their love for each other.
Running Time: 150 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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