I am a fan of Adam Sandler. I've been following him since his days on SNL where he was one of my favorites. His movies, however, are hit or miss. Sometimes he's great, sometimes he's a little too crude and infantile for me.
When I got "Funny People", I knew this wasn't a typical Adam Sandler movie. I knew this was one of his attempts at "serious" acting. It co-stars Seth Rogan, Leslie Mann and Jonah Hill so I had high hopes. I wasn't disappointed.
The movie is about Adam Sandler's character, George, who is a famous comedian living the high life (big stretch there). Then he finds out he has a rare disease; he's dying. The problem is, George is not a likable person. He sleeps with every woman he can, he's rude, his comedy is crude. He has no one in his life. The love of his life, played by Leslie Mann, left when he cheated on her. He's all alone with his money and mansion and fame.
He sees Seth Rogan's character, Ira, and hires him to write jokes and be his assistant. He's mean to Ira and treats him poorly for the most part but Ira manages to help George have a life again, even as he's dying.
Don't get me wrong, this is no redemption movie. George starts out as unlikable and ends up as slightly less unlikable. But I enjoyed watching Adam Sandler deal with adult situations in a real and honest way. He actually appears grown up. Yes, this movie has comedy but it doesn't hide behind it. It deals with George's life in a way that's so believable for his character. He's just not the type of guy who would pull a Scrooge and turn his whole life around just to have a happy ending.
If you're looking for an Adam Sandler comedy, this isn't it. If you're looking for a grown up movie about honest, sometimes uncomfortable situations, there are worse ways to spend an evening. (****)