It would be fair to say I had high expectations for Funny People, but at the same time not really knowing what to expect. To its credit, parts of it are gut busting hilarious and other parts equally dramatic. I was surprised by the sheer amount of crude humour used in the many stand up sequences however, given that story wise, this was probably Apatow's most mature work. It still had the director’s confidently unique trademark mixture of crude and poignant.
The main problem was the film’s second half. When it declares George is able to get better, things get bogged down finding a conclusion. For as great as Eric Bana’s appearance late in the proceedings (as Laura’s overwhelming Aussie husband, Clark), there were plenty of clumsy elements and rushed ideas that just seemed unrealistic towards the end. Relationships turn on a dime and while I feel a lot of it felt true through most of the first ninety minutes, there are moments that threw me off in the final thirty. For a film this long - though it never once felt like it was dragging, it was surprising to see such rapid extremes that appeared only to serve to conclude the story as quickly as possible.
Overall it was a good movie, but with obvious flaws. The narrative - which made it feel like a film in pieces rather than flowing, and Judd's direction being the major culprits. Direction wise, it was pretty bad at times - at least compared to his previous film, Knocked Up. Any of the deeper messages explored are only really bubbling under the surface, and perhaps a second watch will help me realise that this film works better than I think it does now. So far then, Funny People is merely an applaudable - if a little clunky - achievement.