“Comedy usually is for funny people.” So proclaims George Simmons, the world-famous stand-up and movie star whose premature death sentence – he is diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of leukemia – provides the dramatic thrust for roughly half of Judd Apatow’s maudlin, wildly self-indulgent comedy Funny People.
George (Adam Sandler) is right, of course. As if to prove the point, Apatow has assembled a cast of gifted comic actors, including Sandler, longtime protégé Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Leslie Mann and Eric Bana, the Munich star who rose to prominence in his native Australia with his own sketch-comedy show. The resulting slog, clocking in a nearly two-and-a-half hours, is far less amusing than the sum of their talents.
For Paul Rudd and Jason Segel, friends whose acting careers have been entwined since they first worked together in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up, life professionally has rarely looked brighter.
Proclaimed two of comedy’s new legends in a recent issue of Vanity Fair, Rudd, 39, and Segel, 29, have shared the screen twice in the past, as supporting players in Knocked Up and more recently as mismatched surfing partners in last year’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which Segel wrote. But never before have they shared top billing, as they do in I Love You, Man, a platonic romance about a pair of incipient bosom buddies.