Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
Death in the Bible
NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES—Who is the being of light encountered in near-death experiences? Answer
Where did cancer come from? Answer
How did bad things come about? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
|Featuring:||Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler, Eric Bana, Leslie Mann, Ken Jeong, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, Andy Dick, Sarah Silverman, Norm MacDonald, Jason Sandler, Maude Apatow, RZA, Aziz Ansari, Suzy Nakamura, Iris Apatow, Aubrey Plaza, Steve Bannos, Bo Burnham, Maria Bamford, Torsten Voges, Ezra “Buddha” Masters, Brad Grunberg, Jane Le, George Coe, Samantha Quan, Dave Attell, Davon McDonald, Susan Krebs, Elaine Kao, Mandi Kreisher, Laivan Greene, Ca'Shawn Sims, Nicole Mandich, Calvin Sykes, Nydia McFadden, Nick Dash, Rick Shapiro, Arshad Aslam, Nicol Paone, Brian Lally, Sammy Jack, Harris Wittels, Eleanor Zee|
|Producer:||Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Relativity Media, Apatow Productions, Madison 23, Happy Madison Productions, Judd Apatow, Andrew J. Cohen, Norman Durance, Jack Giarraputo, Evan Goldberg, Barry Mendel, Brendan O'Brien, Seth Rogen, Clayton Townsend, Nicholas Weinstock, Lisa Yadavaia|
Judd Apatow movies tend to be somewhat of a double-edged sword. For those unfamiliar with his work as a director, his two previous films include “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.” Both of these films earn their “R” ratings with extreme language and sexual content, but they also carry messages that are hard to find in movies these days. From the theme of abstinence to the beauty and wonder of life through birth, it’s confounding to see such pure themes in films accompanied by unadulterated smut. With his third effort, “Funny People,” Apatow once again provides us with a mixed bag of a movie that contains enough extreme content to keep most discerning Christians away, but also a deep and powerful message about selfishness, relationships, and the finite nature of life itself.
The story centers around comedian/movie star George Simmons, played marvelously by Adam Sandler. George has everything a man could ever want: a huge house, tons of money, and people waiting on him hand and foot. George is diagnosed with a rare form of Lukemia, one that is almost undoubtedly fatal. He realizes through this revelation that while he has money, fame, and fortune, he has no one close to him, and thus he decides to keep his disease a secret. He befriends by chance an unknown comedian named Ira Wright (Seth Rogen), and hires him to be his assistant. A friendship buds between Ira and Georg, and they battle his disease together. Ira encourages George to reveal his disease to others, which forces George to reconnect with his family and his lost love from years past, who’s now married with kids. After doing this, much to his surprise, George finds out that he has beaten his disease, and the experimental medicine he’s been taking has cured him.
One would think that an experience such as this one would refocus George’s life. After staring certain death in the face and coming out of it unscathed, he would realize the importance of people, family, and the need for love in his life. That’s not the case. George easily falls back into the same traps of success and tries to use his new lease on life for personal gain. He’s even willing to break up a family, if it means getting his old girl back. It takes another loss in George’s life, along with some straight talk from his friend Ira, to help George see how his selfishness has grabbed hold of his life and kept him isolated from everyone who wanted to be a part of his life.
While the previous paragraphs may portray a deep and moving film, it is unfortunately only half of the story. As with his previous movies, Apatow decides that his story isn’t good enough on its own, but needs a steady stream of coarse language and sexual content to make it more realistic to the lifestyle of a comedian. While I appreciate this improvisational style of comedy, the material on display here makes “Funny People” completely inappropriate, as well as inaccessible for most all audiences.
It really is a shame, too, because a clean version of this film looks a lot like the parable of the rich fool from Luke 12:13-21, except with redemption. It’s not a major transformation, but the film ends with a completely selfless act on the part of George Simmons. Just like the man from the parable who builds bigger store houses for his crops and goods, George Simmons was a man who had stocked up on money, cars, and material possessions only to finally realize their worthlessness. A small selfless act symbolizes a big life change for George. But this massive message is buried beneath a mountain of garbage, and there’s not much funny about that.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.