First I'd like to express exactly how much this ISN'T an Adam Sandler movie. If you're thinking about not seeing it because for some odd reason you didn't like Waterboy or Happy Gilmore, forget about it. This is a Judd Apatow movie the just happens to have Adam Sandler in the cast. You will like this movie if you liked Knocked Up or The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
Adam Sandler doesn't play his usual stupid funny role in Funny People. In this movie he plays something I expect is much closer to his actual persona: George Simmons, a famous comedian who has become wrapped up in his fame and wealth. In the beginning of the movie we find he has a life-threatening disease for which he goes on experimental medication. When he sees Ira's stand-up act (Seth Rogen) he sees potential and asks him to be his personal assistant and writer. I suspect a hidden reason is because he wants to pass on some sort of legacy before he dies, but he's too proud to actually come out and say it.
Things get complicated when his condition attracts the sympathy of his ex-girlfriend who is now married with children. Thinking she may not have a chance to see him again, she feels it's somewhat safe to declare her undying love. But the he gets better.
Judd Apatow is a genius at bringing deep, heart-felt stories to edgy, crass humor. This is what makes his movies so appealing because we experience this same combination in every day life. Life is not all fun and games, it's not safe or pure. It's complicated, compelling, vulgar at times and funny. There's something everyone can connect with in an Apatow movie, and Funny People, even though it deals with celebrities and stardom, is no exception.
It is, however, the LONGEST comedy I have seen in a long time! At almost two and a half hours, one would expect to get an epic battle sequence or a pod race. In stead we get Eric Bana tangling around with Sandler in his back yard and Seth Rogen racing to the airport only to fail in his intentions. I liked the movie, but I also like to have a drink before I watch a comedy... and for this one that's no good for the bladder.
Kudos for another great movie in Judd's portfolio. The length is really the only thing I find wrong with it. It was otherwise compelling, hilarious and well-woven. Oh and the cameos are awesome!