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King vs. Major: Funny People

On Sunday August 3rd, Nathan Taylor (Major Sheep) and Pat Johnson (King Sheep) agreed to meet online to discuss Judd Apatow’s Funny People. The objective was to experiment with review formats and see how our version of a he said/he said discussion would work. The following is the transcript. People who provide helpful feedback will be eligible to win a Nate Taylor original bumper sticker. Thanks for reading. -KS

Patrick: So lets get to it.
8:05 PM Nate: First impression: a typical first attempt at genre-hopping. I felt like he was trying too hard to make it a dramedic masterpiece.
8:06 PM Patrick: Expectations were actually kind of low. I had prepared myself for dramedy. In the end, it felt like a pretty good comedy and a mediocre drama.
8:07 PM Not bad at either, but a little unsatisfying in each genre.
Nate: I went the other way. My expectations were good, courtesy of the preview campaigns, but I felt very let down by the comedy aspect.
And rather bored by the drama.
8:08 PM Patrick: I expect it to be forgotten. Sandler was strong, but the movie didn’t really do enough to make it a must-see.
8:09 PM Nate: Absolutely right on both points. I wouldn’t see it again in the theater, wouldn’t recommend it to a friend, and I doubt I’ll even rent it on video.
8:10 PM Sandler was terrific, as were the three roomies, but the pacing was making me look at my watch.
Or would have, if I had one.
8:12 PM Patrick: I was perplexed by Rogen – he seemed to be trying a different character (nervous/awkward/not a pothead), but it didn’t really work. His comedy was good, but I never really liked him – and he’s supposed to be the likeable one.
8:13 PM Nate: I think the first joke idea nailed his character: he’s not really one thing or the other. He’s just kind of stuck in between things.
8:15 PM Patrick: I give him partial credit for that.
Nate: Schwartzmann was great, and Hill was funny. Even the new girl, Plaza, was solid.
8:16 PM Solid, but quirky.
Patrick: I agree, but its a sad day in a comedy if the leads get upstaged by the bit parts. Did you feel that way?
8:17 PM Nate: Absolutely. What it really felt like was two movies. Apatow could have made one movie about the famous comedian who finds out he’s dying, then a completely separate movie about a group of comedians trying to make it in LA.
8:18 PM I felt like the storylines detracted from each other.
8:23 PM Patrick: They didnt feel like separate movies to me. I liked the young versus old comedy theme, but the story was a bit so-what. What really happened in the movie? The ending left me feeling like there should be more resolution, but at the same time I felt that it had gone on too long already. Bad pacing seems a likely culprit
8:24 PM Nate: Agreed. Things would slow way waayyy down at some points. I would have loved to see more of the kind of humor like the scene where Sandler and Rogen double-teamed the Swiss doctor.
8:25 PM And are ball-and-dick jokes really the go-to material these days? Am I that out of touch with good comedy?
8:26 PM Patrick: The other best part was all the cameos. And apparently, the movie represents real life for comedians, only in real life there are MORE dick jokes
8:27 PM Nate: I’ll take their word for it.
It was a nice perspective on the life of comedians.
8:28 PM Patrick: So too many dick jokes?
Or not enough good ones?
8:29 PM I laughed, even if i dont normally like or make dick jokes
8:30 PM Nate: Mine was the gross-out laugh. Couldn’t really enjoy laughing even though it was the natural response.
8:31 PM Patrick: So, biggest strengths?
8:33 PM Nate: The chemistry between the roommates was great. I could have watched just them for the whole movie. Also, as we’ve said, Adam Sandler‘s dramatic performance.
8:34 PM Cinematography had some nice shots in the movie that really brought me into the character’s mind.
8:37 PM Patrick: Some of the comedy is hilarious, the insight into the sad clown persona of a comedian is facsinating and all of Judd’s friends and associates (cameos) help build a convincing and familiar world.
8:38 PM The big negatives were pacing, the oil and water complications of doing a comedy/drama, and the overall story left me entertained but not impressed
8:41 PM Nate: I’m actually going to go a step lower and say that I was disappointed by the final product. It was long, and I was undertained by the second hour of the movie. I was ready for it to be over before he even got to his ex-girlfriend’s home.
8:42 PM Maybe I’m losing my touch.
Patrick: I think your tastes may have become more refined
8:43 PM Nate: Doubtful. I still giggle at “Dude Where’s My Car?”
It’s old age. I’m losing my endurance.
Patrick: I would say the movie was good while also being good for nothing.
8:44 PM Nate: Nice tagline. It could go on the box.
Patrick: Maybe that line could earn us $100
Nate: So, should we make some kind of final judgement referencing a scale or fast food comparison?
8:45 PM Patrick: Hmmmm.  I give it half-eaten fudgesickle and a picture of a dick drawn on a cocktail napkin
Nate: Nice.
8:48 PM I’ll go with an expired Netflix trial membership card and all the change in my right pocket.

2 Responses

  1. Great ending! I like the format, and maybe it’s the film’s fault for being so mediocre, but I found myself waiting for the sheep duo’s usual wit.

    I like the idea of a conversation, but realism be damned! Can you punch it up a bit next time?

  2. I like the discussion format, guys. It’s kind of like a cross between Pat’s review matchups and one of Slate Magazine’s Gabfests. Digressions are to be expected in these formats (and they can be really fun), but if you keep practicing this format, you might agree beforehand to hit a few topics/questions that’ll focus and anchor the discussion. I can see a few of those here: first impressions, expectations, biggest strengths/weaknesses, final judgment.

    Oh, and to weigh in on the movie: I agree with y’all about it lacking a clear sense of what it was about. Pacing was off – why were Rogen and Sandler at Mann and Bana’s house for so damn long? I think they should have pushed the “being selfish/alienated vs. caring for people” theme further, especially w/r/t the young guys, since they were pretty much all on the road to repeating Sandler’s life. The Rogen/Plaza romance didn’t really make any sense to me at all, other than as an example of how shitty Rogen and Schwartzman’s relationship was. Ultimately, like Pat, I give the movie a dick picture – except mine would be one where the dick looked sad and lonely. Maybe there’s one from the credits of Superbad that would do.

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