Writer/director Judd Apatow raises the stakes on his already stellar formula for generating laughs with a comedy that's equal parts sincerity and wit. Set in a real-life world of Los Angeles stand-up comics, the story revolves around Adam Sandler, very much playing himself as George Simmons, a hugely successful comedian living it up in his Hollywood Hills mansion. News that he’s dying of leukemia inspires George to hire local newbie stand-up comic Ira Wright (perfectly played by Seth Rogen) to write jokes and work as a personal assistant who will guard George’s medical secret from the press.
An awkward friendship develops between George and Ira as George tries to set the record straight with family members, old friends and with his former fiancée Laura (Leslie Mann). Rogen is an ideal comic foil for Sandler’s character, and the film provides a great format for each to express a range of comic levels.
Funny People is by far Sandler’s best movie because Apatow writes comic set pieces that allow germs of humor to expand between the more obvious laughs that Sandler hits with sharp-shooter accuracy. At well over two hours, Funny People runs about 15 minutes longer than it should, but this is still the funniest movie of the year. Grade: A-
Opens July 31. Check out theaters and show times, see the film's trailer and find nearby bars and restaurants here.