Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill | R |
People who are funny for a living make strangers happy, but do they have a clue how to make themselves and those close to them happy? That's the navel-gazing question being prodded, dissected and underlined with a neon yellow highlighter for 2 hours and 25 minutes in Funny People, reigning comedy king Judd Apatow's third directorial effort (following The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up). The answer: not so much.
Grappling with the question are self-indulgent George Simmons (Sandler), a stand-up comic turned Hollywood star, and Ira Wright (Rogen), a comedy tyro George hires as his assistant. When he is diagnosed with leukemia, George reevaluates his life and reconnects with his ex-fiancée (Mann), now wed to a businessman (Bana). But will the lessons George learns prove lasting?
Funny is sometimes funny indeed, but at other times it's wearing, especially in its second half. You're not unhappy to spend time with these people and their problems, but by the end you just don't care that much. And enough already with the obsessive jokes about male genitalia, references to which—during onstage comedy routines and off—are the punch line for seemingly 75 percent of the film's jokes. Yes, these guys should be thinking higher up with their hearts and heads. We get it.
Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne | PG-13 |
Romance fans should skip the big studio misfires this summer (The Proposal being the enjoyable exception) and instead see smaller films such as (500) Days of Summer and this slight but sweet love story. Adam (Dancy), who has Asperger's syndrome, falls for Beth (Byrne), a teacher, after she moves into his apartment building in New York City. She helps him emerge from his shell; he shares with her his passion for astronomy. Adam works because it doesn't gloss over the challenges its hero (and those who love him) face and because Dancy and Byrne imbue their characters with enough believable frailty to make us care.
Playing more like a tense thriller than a dry documentary, Cove tracks the intrepid efforts of a band of activists to covertly film the wholesale roundup, selling and slaughter of dolphins in Japan. The team is led by Richard O'Barry, who trained dolphins for TV's Flipper but now crusades against their capture. Divers plant underwater mikes; a Hollywood special effects pro contributes fake rocks containing hidden cameras. The end result of their efforts is a gruesome eye-opener.
For more information, visit www.eodmemorial.org
>When they need a star, these directors look across their pillows
JUDD APATOW In Funny People, he cast wife Leslie Mann—she's in all his films—plus daughters Maude (left) and Iris.
REBECCA MILLER She put Daniel Day-Lewis, her Oscar-winning hubby, into 2005's The Ballad of Jack and Rose.
JOEL COEN He helped wife Frances McDormand flat-vowel her way to an Oscar in 1996's Fargo.
>• The Hurt Locker is winning raves for its intense drama about a military bomb-disposal team in Iraq. Retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer Jim O'Neil, 54, survived a career in the job
YOU STARTED DOING THIS AT 20. DID YOUR PARENTS WORRY? It's a job you don't want to tell your mom you're going to do. But my parents, while scared to death, understood it was a noble cause.
WHAT'S THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF THE JOB? To put that bomb suit on and do the exact same thing that killed one of your best friends the day before. That to me is courage. That to me is love.
WHAT'S IT LIKE IN THE SUIT? It's about 85 lbs. and very, very hot. It can be brutal, especially right now in Iraq and Afghanistan.
HOW DO GUYS DEAL WITH THE STRESS? You lock away your pain. Or you cry in your rack at night, especially if you lose someone.
HOW CLOSE IS THE TEAM? Tighter than most families. There aren't many families that look each other in the eye every day and say, "My life is going to depend on your actions today."