Despite being overlong, Funny People is easily the best movie that Adam Sandler has made in the new millennium. Written and directed by his longtime friend, and former pre-fame roommate, Judd Apatow, the under-appreciated 2009 dramedy knows when to be uproariously funny but also gives Sandler—playing a cancer sick and disenchanted Hollywood comedy icon, not unlike himself (save for the “cancer sick and disenchanted” business)—a character ripe with internal conflicts and emotional heft.
Some of the film’s biggest laughs come from the faux high-concept movies that George Simmons (Sandler) stars in for the huge paychecks, including MerMan, Dog’s Best Friend, Astro-Not, and Re-Do. Oh, and Jack & Jill, the ridiculous, can’t-be-real movie in which Simmons dresses in women’s clothing to play a set of twins, and… Wait, that was Sandler, not Simmons. Pardon the easy mistake.
Everything about last year’s shameful Jack & Jill, from its posters, commercials, and stunt casting of Al Pacino, mirrored the fake flicks seen in Funny People. Except that, in Jack and Jill’s case, the joke was on Sandler, not George Simmons. He needs to do himself a favor and never let us laugh at his expense like that again.