FUNNY PEOPLE (2009)

The title isn't misleading, it's ironic. Such a fine line, isn't it? Plot centers on a famous comic played by Adam Sandler, who went from raunchy standup to starring in bad-yet-successful movies (playing himself?)... and he's diagnosed with a fatal disease. Sick and dying, he seeks refuge in struggling standup Seth Rogan, whom he hires as writer, sidekick, and eventually, best friend. Sandler and Rogan have okay chemistry; their humor bounces back and forth nicely at times, awkwardly at others. And their standup routines are like something from an open-mic night in hell. The main problem is, you never really feel Sandler's fatal plight. It might be his performance, or the direction, that takes so much time centering on poop jokes and his sexual escapades with groupies. We only experience his health diminishing through collage scenes set to really loud music. When Sandler learns his disease has miraculously just... gone away, and that he's got a second chance, the film takes a bad turn. That which wasn't on a straight path to begin with veers into a flaming col-de-sac. Rates: **

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