‘Funny People’ DVD Review

Saturday, November 21, 2009
By Kevin Crossman
Seth Rogen Crashes Judd Apatow's Video Diary

Seth Rogen Crashes Judd Apatow's Video Diary

Judd Apatow chose a dear subject but a challenging story for his third directorial effort, Funny People. And while some audiences were perplexed by the epic, 2 1/2 hour, comedy/drama with a cancer storyline and an unsympathetic lead, DVD buyers will surely appreciate the film at a greater level. Compiling standard DVD extras with archival standup comedy footage of stars Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, along with former standup Judd Apatow himself, the DVD and Blu-ray releases contain everything you could ever want that’s related to Funny People.

A key feature for any DVD release is the commentary track, and Funny People’s track features Apatow, Sandler, and Rogen. It’s a fairly serious attempt to inform the viewer, but when old friends get together there are jokes and ribbing and asides that do nothing to describe the filmmaking process but do everything to help you understand the filmmakers themselves. It’s a good track overall, with emphasis on the story and emotional arc of the film. Similar to Tropic Thunder’s commentary, there is repeated ooohing and aaahing over the cinematography in the film. Funny People’s DP Janusz Kaminski comes off as an integral part of some of the more successful aspects of the film, not just by providing gorgeous shots but in making the camera more active in a film that features many scenes of people talking. The commentary also confirms that that the folks laughing along with the archival footage of Adam Sandler shown at the beginning of Funny People are none other than Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo.

Ben Stiller Laughs at Adam Sandler's Prank Phone Call

Ben Stiller Laughs at Adam Sandler's Prank Phone Call

Janeane Garofalo Laughs at Adam Sandler

Janeane Garofalo Laughs at Adam Sandler

The extras feature Apatow Productions signatures such as the Line-o-Rama where alternate punch-lines are shown. Another key highlight are Apatow’s video diaries starting with Day One of shooting and continuing through the post-production process. There are veiled references to poor test screenings and  a sort-of triumphant ending where the test scores finally “shot through the roof.” It might have been neat to see a video diary after the film’s disappointing box office returns.  Still, other directors could learn a thing or two from Apatow’s ability to draw viewers into the filmmaking process with the video diaries that show how things work on set.

There’s also quite a bit of rehearsal and table-read footage. Along with previously seen but neatly compiled segments including more from the George Simmons filmography and a funny fauxmentary about “Raaaandy” and one could spend several evenings digesting every bit of the Funny People universe without actually watching the film itself.

Most of us here in Fratville like Funny People, despite the lack of big comedic set-piece or signature catch-phrase. The film functions best as a drama but with stand-up comedy and some funny lines to keep us on an even keel. Funny People features standout performances from Sandler and especially Rogen, along with enjoyable and emotional turns from Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, and Jonah Hill. It’s a superb film that will surprise many viewers even on repeat viewing.

Funny People is available on DVD and Blu-ray on November 24

5

DVD and Blu-ray Details

The two-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray™ and DVD come loaded with exclusive bonus features, including:

  • Hilarious gag reels
  • Deleted & Extended / Alternate Scenes
  • Line-O-Rama:  Re-watch some of the movie’s funniest scenes, but this time with alternate punch lines
  • Feature Commentary with director Judd Apatow and stars Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen

Documentaries:

  • Funny People Diaries: A documentary in four parts which takes audiences inside all aspects of the filmmaking process from early cast table reads and joke brainstorming sessions, to the various filmmaking techniques employed throughout the production.
  • Judd’s High School Radio Show
  • Raaaaaaaandy!:  This mockumentary takes fans on the road with Aziz Ansari’s Randy character from the film.

Music from Funny People: Listen to music from and inspired by the film from James Taylor, Adam Sandler, Jon Brion and RZA

From the Archives:  Watch Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow on a 1990 episode of The Midnight Hour with Bill Maher; Sandler’s first appearance on David Letterman; and Seth Rogen doing stand up at 13!

The Films of George Simmons: Watch footage from George Simmons’ greatest films including Sayonara Davey and Merman

Prank Call 1990:  Watch Sandler as he performs an actual prank phone call, in this archival footage from Judd Apatow’s personal video library

“Yo Teach…!”: Go “behind-the-scenes” of “Yo Teach…!”, the television show featured in the film Funny People

Blu-ray exclusives:

  • Enjoy more hilarious laughs with two more Line-O-Rama’s
  • Watch additional Deleted, Extended and Alternate Scenes
  • Additional music and an extensive look at James Taylor on the set
  • Over an hour of stand up performances by the film’s cast
  • Additional archival material including Sandler’s second Letterman appearance, Sandler at Los Angeles’ famed Comedy & Magic Club and Judd Apatow performing on The Dennis Miller Show
  • Hilarious prank calls from Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow
  • Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow’s appearance on “Charlie Rose”
  • U-Control™: Funny People music: Universal’s exclusive signature feature puts the viewer just a click away from additional insights into the music in the film without ever leaving the movie.
  • BD-Live™:  Access the BD-LiveTM Center through any Internet-connected player to download more exclusive content, the latest trailers and more!
  • My Chat:  Using any Internet-connected player, host a text chat with friends while watching the movie in synchronization
  • My Funny People Commentary: Create play-by-play video, audio or text movie commentary and share it with friends through UniversalHiDef.com and the BD-Live Center
  • My Scenes Sharing:  Bookmark favorite scenes from the movie to share with BD-Live buddies!

The Funny People single disc DVD includes a gag reel and feature commentary with director Judd Apatow, Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen.

5 Responses to “‘Funny People’ DVD Review”

  1. Benjamin

    Yeah I really enjoyed this film despite it’s dramatic side and the word of mouth reviews i got fro friends. I was actually shocked at how much Apatow had evovled as a director compared to Virgin and Knocked Up, the movie was shot incredibly. And too be honest i found the film very funny as well, i thought that Jason Schwartzman was really good as were the usuall Apatow players.

    #820
  2. Rick

    So the non-Blu Ray also has a commentary, right? Cuz that really pissed me off about the Observe & Report disc

    #821
  3. John Avs

    I suggest everyone get Blu-ray now! It is definitely worth the price! I have I Love You, Man, Step Brothers, Wedding Crashers, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, and more on Blu-ray and they are incredible! By the way Funny People was great! I can understand some people not liking it because they probably went into the movie thinking it was going to be just straight comedy and weren’t prepared for the drama and long running time. I love this movie, but did not really enjoy the 3rd act. It kinda took the film in a different direction that it didn’t need, but yet sort of needed to sum the movie up. This film was interesting and wasn’t what I was expecting(in a good way). Get the BLU-RAY! Definitely worth the price

    #824
  4. Kevin Crossman

    Yes, the DVD has a commentary (at least the Unrated version that I reviewed does).

    #825
  5. steve

    i saw the the beginning of funny people where adam sandler was goofing on the phone - that was that just stupid (not funny) - makes me wonder how the guy is so successful???

    #2599

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