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Blu-Ray : Highly Recommended
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Release Date: November 24th, 2009 Movie Release Year: 2009

Funny People

Overview -

George Simmons is a famous stand-up comedian who learns that he has a terminal illness and less than a year to live. When, he meets Ira, a struggling comedian at a comedy club where both the comedians are performing, George hires Ira to be his personal assistant and opening act at his performances. The two forge a close friendship as George helps Ira with his career and Ira helps George find closure in his legacy. However, when George learns that his disease has gone into remission and an ex-girlfriend re-enters his life, he's inspired to reevaluate what is important to him and what truly gives meaning to his life.

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Two-Disc Set
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/AVC MPEG 4
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
French DTS 5.1
Special Features:
Release Date:
November 24th, 2009

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Considering its title, 'Funny People' isn't all that funny. Don't get me wrong, there are many comedic situations and some really funny lines spoken throughout, but in his third outing in the director's chair, Judd Apatow ('The 40-Year-Old Virgin', 'Knocked Up') gives audiences something other than foul-mouthed, raunchy humor. Here, he tells a more serious, sincere, and reflective story about people with problems, their difficulties in friendships, and how they deal with their issues by telling jokes. What Apatow has done is create a film similar to that of a stand-up routine, one single performance delving into life's ironies and the juvenile things we sometimes do.

The film starts out strong and emotional with a famous celebrity realizing the worth of his career and life. Adam Sandler is the wealthy, successful comedian and actor George Simmons. He has just discovered that he's developed a rare form of leukemia and will undergo a medical treatment with an 8 percent success rate. Back at his mansion, he finds solace watching home videos of his younger self doing stand-up and having fun with friends. It's one of the film's more moving and pitiful sequences, as George comes to another sudden realization: he's alone and has nobody to talk to. He goes to a local comedy club presumably as an act of returning to his roots, but only succeeds in embarrassing himself.

This is where Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) comes in. He's a struggling stand-up comedian sleeping on the sofa bed of friends Leo (Jonah Hill) and Mark (Jason Schwartzman). After a minor confrontation at the club, George offers Ira a job as his joke writer and personal assistant. Seeing as how his roommates are gaining moderate success, Ira jumps at the opportunity and finds out the position is more than he bargained for. George is a very temperamental individual, almost verbally abusive, but Ira sticks it out nonetheless. And it turns out, it's all for the better.

Their friendship and their time spent together highlights different aspects of the characters' personalities, which is also the plot's best feature. Rogen and Sandler reveal another side to their acting talents, one which many audiences are unfamiliar with. In 'Punch-Drunk Love' and 'Reign Over Me,' Sandler showed he's capable of much more than silly faces, stupid noises, or random acts of idiocy. With 'Funny People,' he gives us a real person confronted by death and the regret of past choices haunting the present. As we watch George deal with his health concerns, we sympathize with him and understand his foolish attempt to chase after his ex-girlfriend, Laura (Leslie Man).

Meanwhile, Rogen continues as the big, lovable dope we know and enjoy from previous films. Only now, he's also an unsure and dubious sap who legitimately wants to prevent George from repeating his mistakes. Rogen surprises as a thinner version of those pathetic losers from before and brings himself to a more prominent and dramatic position. We can tell the guy really wants friends that believe in him or at least appreciate him. To help him in this role, Hill and Schwartzman also provide equally strong performances of characterizations.

With 'Funny People', Judd Apatow still carries on with his signature sense of humor, full of foul language and dirty, gross jokes. But the real comedy doesn't come from the scripted lines or the improv. Rather, it's all situational - things just seem more real. Take the scene with Eminem and Ray Romano -- it's hysterically funny and feels genuine. The only problem is with a script that suddenly changes gears in the latter half of the second act. It's somewhat jarring and clunky at first, but the narrative quickly recovers its footing, and the film is back on track.

Credit Apatow's directing and writing for salvaging a piece that could have easily fallen to the wayside as another buddy-comedy, especially when we see the names Sandler and Rogen side by side. 'Funny People' is definitely a big change from his previous two movies. I might even go out on a limb and state this is Apatow's most mature film yet. Like the cast, he, too, shows he's capable of more than just base, simple humor. And from the looks of it, it's a good thing.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

Universal Studios Home Entertainment delivers Judd Apatow's 'Funny People' in a 2-Disc Collector's Edition. Both are BD-50 Blu-ray discs, with the first containing two versions of the film - "Rated" or "Unrated". The difference between them is about seven minutes and can be accessed under the 'Extras' banner of the main menu. The second disc contains more bonus features. The discs are packaged in the standard blue keepcase with a shiny slipcover, which features a photo of the three main characters. As soon as the disc is inserted into the player, viewers are greeted by the normal Universal logo and menu options.

Video Review


'Funny People' makes it way onto the high-def stage with good picture quality I'm sure will please fans. Only the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer (1.85:1) is not razor-sharp or all that impressive. It's nicely detailed, however, showing some pleasant texture in various articles of clothing and accurate facial complexions. Contrast is well balanced with great visibility of background info and clean, sharp whites. Primaries are strong though not very vivid, and the rest of the palette is true, giving the film a warm and attractive cinematic quality. Black levels are also rich, but gradations and delineation are only about average. Moreover, there are a few noticeable instances of the image appearing a little overexposed and highlighting film grain. To some, they are arguably minor but worth noting on an otherwise good picture quality.

Audio Review


The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on this Apatow/Sandler/Rogen combo pack is also pretty nice. It's far from remarkable or highly active, which should be expected of a dramatic comedy, but it serves its purpose well and in satisfying fashion. The dialogue-driven film delivers perfectly clear and discernible vocals in the soundstage. The other three channels carry the rest of the load with smooth dynamics, strong interior acoustics, and enjoyable, clean imaging. The score and musical choices spread evenly in the fronts with decent low bass to add dome depth. The surround speakers are practically of no concern as the sound design displays little in terms of atmospherics. The track may not impress friends or neighbors, but it makes for a nice lossless stereo presentation.

Special Features


For this Blu-ray edition of 'Funny People', Universal Studios has bloated the package with a large and extensive collection of bonus material, spanning two full high-def discs. Almost all of them are presented in high definition, with some being exclusive to the format, and the supplements are enjoyable, giving everyone involved an opportunity to discuss the work that went into making the film.

Disc One

  • Audio Commentary - Available in either version of the film, director/writer Judd Apatow sits down with Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen for a lighthearted and entertaining conversation about the production. For those who really liked the film, this commentary track is a must-listen as Sandler and Apatow do most of the talking, being long-time friends and all. Rogen does jump in on occasion and offers some thoughts and scene-specific jokes. But the real highlight is the camaraderie between the three men, giving fans plenty to laugh at while also throwing in some insights about the plot and funny quips during their time together. The discussion does have its moments of seriousness, with the three sharing some personal reflections and thoughts about the film's more sincere aspects. Overall, this is a good track and a fun listen.
  • Documentary: "Funny People Diaries" (HD, 75 min) - As a follow-up to the commentary, fans are also given a thorough making-of feature that will attract most anyone with an interest in the filmmaking process. This four-part documentary ("The Premise", "The Set Up", "The Punchline", and "The Button") features plenty of behind-the-scenes footages via video diaries taken by Judd Apatow himself. The entire piece is also mixed with archival scenes of stand-up routines, rehearsals, discussions on characters, outtakes, and post-production challenges. Apatow covers the whole scope of the film in this doc, from the script's origins and inspirations to the filmmaker's aspirations with the final product. This is a great complementary piece to an already overwhelming package of special features.
  • "Line-O-Rama Part 1" (HD, 5 min) - Viewers can watch cast members deliver some pretty funny ad-libs and add alternate punchlines to the script. It's a short and quick montage but very entertaining nonetheless
  • Gag Reel Parts 1 & 2 (HD, 11 min) - Another short but sweet collection of outtakes from various members of the cast. It's an easy, quick watch and fairly entertaining.

Disc Two

  • Music (HD, 22 min) - The total runtime of this featurette is nearly an hour, but it's grouped together with some exclusive material for the format and designated accordingly. "James Taylor Live" shows the legendary songwriter performing his entire concert set for the MySpace sequence. Two of his performances ("Shower the People" and "Secret O' Life") can also be seen on the DVD release. This is followed up by a performance from "Adam Sandler & Jon Brion" singing the songs "Photograph" and "Save It for Later". The third song is exclusive to Blu-ray. And finally, we have Wu Tang Clan's rapper and author doing a promotional piece in "RZA Podcast".
  • Documentaries (HD, 25 min) - Don't be fooled by the submenu's title. This is simply a collection of two segments (the third featurette is exclusive to BD). First is a mockumentary ("Raaaaaaaandy!") about fictional stand-up comic Randy Springs, played Aziz Ansari, which can be funny at times but not very memorable. The second piece is a few minutes with Judd Apatow ("Judd's High School Radio Show") talking about his experience as a radio talk show host and interviewing comic legends like Steve Allen and Jerry Seinfeld. It's a fine enough feature, but Apatow really deserves more time.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 22 min) - According to tech specs, 11 of the twenty-four scenes, totaling 48 min, can be found here. With a comedy which clocks in at 146 min, this collection is easily going overboard. However, they make for an interesting watch when free time is available, and as expected, they would have likely bogged down the narrative and were wisely removed.
  • Extended & Alternate Scenes (HD, 16 min) - Only six of the twenty alternate takes, totaling 66 min, are available to both formats. Together with the above selection, this assortment of scenes is a whole other movie in itself and features exactly what the title implies, a series of sequences which were edited for time.
  • From the Archives (SD, 12 min) - This little featurette is actually pretty cool. First, we see Apatow and Sandler being interviewed by Bill Maher on "The Midnight Hour". Then, we get to witness some classic footage of Sandler's first appearance on "Letterman" and a 13-year-old Rogen doing a stand-up routine. It's all good stuff, and the other three segments are exclusive.
  • The Films of George Simmons (HD. 6 min) - Viewers can familiarize themselves with this compilation of theatrical trailers starring George Simmons. Shared between both formats are previews for 'Sayonara Davey', 'Merman', and 'Re-Do' with Justin Long.
  • Prank Call - 1990 (SD, 3 min) - Taken from Apatow's private collection of home videos, fans can watch the entire video of a very young Adam Sandler making an annoying but funny phone call as an irate person, which was used in the film.
  • "Yo Teach . . . !" (HD, 6 min) - A faux behind-the-scenes look at the TV show featured in the movie and an interview with Mark Taylor Jackson (Jason Schwartzman).

Final Thoughts

Judd Apatow's third film is humorous and entertaining, and it also marks his most mature piece of work to date. With 'Funny People', he has created a real film about life's ironies and the juvenile things we sometimes do - a comical meditation on people with problems, their difficulties in friendships, and how they deal with their issues by telling jokes. The film debuts with a fairly strong A/V presentation and an incredibly exhaustive package of supplements. All things considered, there is no better way to watch 'Funny People' than on Blu-ray.