Adam Sandler plays George Simmons, a world-famous stand-up comedian and film star who is diagnosed with a rare, and seemingly incurable, form of cancer. In coming to terms with his mortality, George befriends struggling comedian Ira Wright (Seth Rogen), who supports him through his experimental treatment, helps him reconnect with lost love Laura (Leslie Mann) and revives his flagging career.
Whilst all this might sound a tad depressing, it must be noted that Funny People is just as mirth-inducing, filthy and irreverent as Apatow’s previous efforts. In addition, it packs an emotional punch otherwise absent from his other films. Judd Apatow has a well-deserved reputation as the king of Hollywood comedy, after massive success with Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. With Funny People, however, Apatow has delivered a film on a much broader canvas, aiming to tickle the funny bone and pull at the heartstrings in equal measure. It is to his great credit as a writer/director that he excels at both.
With a fantastic supporting cast including Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzmann, Funny People is consistently hilarious and touching, and with career-best work from Sandler, well worth seeing whether you’re an Apatow acolyte or not.