September 10, 2009

Movie Review: Funny People

Let's just get this out of the way: 'Funny People' sucked. I wish there was a nicer way to put it, but there's not. It's the kind of movie that is dully painful while you're watching, and then gets worse and worse the more you think about it.

In the musical 'You're a Good Man Charlie Brown,' Lucy – you know her, she's the one who always pulls the football away – tells a depressed Charlie Brown that the best way to feel better “is to come right out and admit all of the things that are wrong with you.” Maybe doing that will help me feel better about this movie: 'Funny People' lacked depth, originality and warmth, and was way too long. Nope, didn't help. I'm just getting angry. Just how long is it? The first half might have been an okay movie on its own. As is, Judd Apatow, he of the golden touch who brought us '40 Year Old Virgin' and 'Knocked Up' tried way too hard and gave us 2 hours and 26 minutes of humorless blah. Does that sound harsh? It should.

The movie's about a famous comedian/actor who's diagnosed with a deadly illness. An aspiring comedian starts working as his assistant, they bond, and then the famous one discovers he isn't sick anymore. A girl and some roommates figure in there somewhere too.

Seth Rogen has been in almost everything that Judd Apatow has done – from 'Freaks & Geeks' through 'Knocked Up.' It's almost like he's his muse or something. He's one of the stars of this movie. Adam Sandler used to be Apatow's roommate. He's another star in this movie. Leslie Mann, she of the squeaky voice, is Judd Apatow's wife. She's the third star of this movie (also, their kids feature fairly prominently). The fourth star – kind of, since he doesn't appear until a good 2 hours in – is Eric Bana (You know, the Hulk). I'm not sure how he fits into Judd Apatow's life, but I'm willing to bet they celebrate Hanukkah together or something. The overzealous, obvious nepotism was at times painful to watch, because no one fit their character particularly well – it's like everyone was playing some vague version of themselves, and nothing else.

Here's something that was good: Jason Schwarztman. He played Seth Rogen's friend, a formerly struggling actor, recently made successful by starring on a totally lame, TGIF/Saturday morning-type sitcom called 'Yo, Teach.' As a self-absorbed guy, convinced that everything is, in fact, about him, he offered some of the only laugh-out-loud moments of the movie.

5 Twix bars!

September 9, 2009

Movie Review: Paper Heart

'Paper Heart' is a fake documentary about Charlyne Yi, a Los Angeles comedian who dates Michael Cera (of 'Arrested Development,' 'Superbad' and 'Juno.'). The movie was made while they were dating, as if they weren't yet dating, and released after they'd broken up. So, I guess you could say it's kind of a true story. Also, an actor plays the real movie's director. With me so far?

Well, the plot is kind of beside the point anyway. The documentary part is about love, and whether or not it exists for Yi. She doesn't think so, and travels middle America hearing from couples young and old (mostly the latter) about their loves, lost and present. Often, these vignettes are wrapped up with a kind of puppet show that insert Yi's quirky sense of art and humor into the mix. Those parts are quite lovely.

In fact, the whole movie is quite lovely, in a somewhat forgettable way. As is, the only thing that really sticks out in the viewer's mind is that looming question about what is real and what is not; if Cera had been anyone even marginally less famous, there would have been little else to latch onto. 7 Twix bars!

Oh, that's right, I write a blog!

Hello blogosphere, and sincere apologies for a lack of entries. As you likely know, my husband Trevor, and I have recently relocated to the West Coast and begun new jobs as resident staff at a year-round camp and outdoor education center. You can read more about that here. It's exciting, but the transition has been a bit crazy, and blogging has fallen by the wayside (Did I just use that term correctly?). Have no fear! I am re-committing myself to regular entries starting...NOW! First up, movie reviews! I've seen 4 films since 'Julie & Julia' and I know you're just dying to know what I thought about them. So, stay tuned for summaries, insight and maybe just a little bit of snark, about 'Paper Heart,' 'Funny People,' 'Inglourious Basterds' and the home-viewing of 'A History of Violence.'