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Quick Hit Friday . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Friday, August 28, 2009 19 comments

“The question isn't "what are we going to do," the question is "what aren't we going to do?",” Matthew Broderick, ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’


It’s not much of a question for me today. I’m not going to do much work outside of eating two breakfast tacos, jumping on a weekly meeting conference call and wrapping up some paperwork before hitting the road by 3 p.m. After that, it’s still up in the air, but anything is better than sitting under fluorescent lighting, even the 100 degree heat outside seems more appealing.

So before I head to the break room, let’s look at the hard stories of the week such as:

Lindsay Lohan’s house was burglarized this past week as thieves made off with bags, shoes and jewelry.

"The safe was ripped out of the wall, and the door was off the hinges and door handles removed," Lindsay's mother, Dina Lohan, told People magazine.

Lindsay's father, Michael Lohan, tells TMZ he thinks it was "an inside job" because the alarm wasn't turned on.


Her father believes it was an inside job because he was inside her house at the time of the robbery with a crow bar and ski mask.

Reality TV dad Jon Gosselin told Us Magazine he’s had enough of taping “Jon & Kate Plus 8” and wishes he could quit the show.

"I wish I had a 9 to 5 job instead of the nightmare I'm living. This is 24/7," he told Usmagazine.com. "I don't even want to do taping for the show anymore."


I only pray that Jon takes Kate Gosselin with him when he leaves and begins his shift at the local McDonalds.

Jessica Biel was labeled the most dangerous celebrity on the Web this week by security technology company McAfee Inc. as the company reported that searches for the 27-year-old actress are more likely to lead to online threats such as spyware and viruses than searches for any other celebrity.


Luckily, Danger is BDS’s middle name . . .

Miss Venezuela was named winner of the 2009 Miss Universe pageant in the Bahamas this week, but it was a musical performance by Heidi Montag that garnered the most attention.

The Hills reality star gave her first live performance, singing "Body Language" from her debut album, and she did so in a flesh-colored body suit as she gyrated her way through the song.

"I think people don't know what to expect, and how can they? It's my first performance live and it's in front of a billion eyes. So I'm very excited to show everyone what I'm coming with," said Montag prior to her performance.


Montag already showed what she’s “coming with” in her Playboy spread earlier this month, and the performance did nothing to shed any additional light on the subject.

Thousands of Madonna fans booed the singer during her concert in Bucharest, Romania this week when she stopped the concert to speak out regarding discrimination against gypsies.

"It has been brought to my attention ... that there is a lot of discrimination against Romanies and Gypsies in general in Eastern Europe," she said. "It made me feel very sad."

Thousands booed and jeered following the singer’s words.


To be fair, the crowd didn’t start to boo until Madonna cut the music and began reading palms and telling fortunes in a display of gypsy solidarity.

Following weeks of speculation about her next job, former ‘American Idol’ judge Paula Abdul announced Monday on Twitter that she has signed a deal to host the next “VH1 Divas” show which returns Sept. 17 after a four-year hiatus, MTV reports.

Abdul wrote: "Hi guys! im really excited 2 announce ill b hosting this year's 'VH1 Divas'! The show will be live on Sept 17th @ 9 pm EST."


With so many people out of work in this country it seems distinctly unfair that Abdul should find another job so quickly.

Melanie Griffith has checked into a rehab facility in Utah – her 3rd stint in recent years - her rep confirmed to People Magazine, although the reasons for her entrance weren’t entirely clear.

"She is there to reinforce her commitment to stay healthy," says her rep Robin Baum. "This is part of a routine plan that was designed between her and her doctors years ago."


The routine plan was designed because Griffith planned to routinely binge on alcohol and prescription pills.

As always, let’s end with a gold image or two:



The end of the week is a fine time for vice, so smoke 'em if you've got 'em, lend yourself a helping hand if necessary and . . . Happy Friday!

-BDS

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Toweling Off . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, August 26, 2009 14 comments

Showering and dressing for work at the gym is never a fun proposition, but rather, constitutes a necessary evil like mowing the lawn or reciprocating oral sex.


But I am forced to perform this ritual 4 – 5 times per week. I generally employ a see no evil, hear no evil philosophy during these times. But lately, an new person – an interloper with a hairy back – has gotten on my schedule and the worst part is that he doesn’t know how to properly use a towel.

This man is a little older, and if pressed, I would put him in the mid-40s to early 50s range. He’s got dark bushy hair on his head, and swaths of dark hair across his shoulders and upper back. I don’t care about that. What I do care about is that he chooses to drape his towel over one shoulder and stand in front of the mirror naked while blow drying or combing his hair or gargling with mouth wash.


And just to be clear, nobody looks good naked while gargling with mouth wash.

Other times, he will place the towel on a small ledge which extends out from the various mirrors. And once he simply left it sitting on the bench while went around naked as a jaybird. Basically, this guy has done everything with his towel except for wrapping it firmly around his waist where it belongs.


Luckily, I always dress on a different row, but it’s the principle of the matter that irritates me. At first I thought it was a fluke that he would do this. Now, I’m starting to wonder if nobody ever taught him the proper way to use a towel.

I’m considering printing out a sign and then sticking it to his locker for instructional help. The towel rules are simple, and there’s really only one of them: To use, place end around your waist, wrap the loose side until it connects again and tuck into the front.

I consider it a public service.

-BDS

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Thoughts on 'Inglorious Basterds' . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, August 24, 2009 14 comments

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Matinee. I'm a big Quentin Tarantino fan, however, despite 5 chapters and 2 1/2 hours of film, I'd still recommend a matinee based on quality even though you could argue that you get an extended running time if you opt for a full-price ticket.

Will I Own It On DVD: Maybe. The movie might grow on me with some time and distance, but right now, I wouldn't buy it on the initial release price, but might grab it later at a discount or if I wanted to keep my Tarantino DVD library complete.

Overrall Grade: B-


1) 'Inglorious Basterds' treads a different path than the one the trailers led you to believe. Of course it concerns itself with the Basterds, a group of Jewish soliders in WWII who are led by Brad Pitt and commanded by him to scalp 100 Nazis a piece so the Germans "will fear us." But they are actually only a relatively small part of the film (appear for roughly 1/2 the screen time). The other chapters focus on an opportunistic and brutal German commander (Christoph Waltz), a Jewish escapee who assumes a different identity and runs a movie house in France, a secret British operation to infilitrate the Nazis and these threads all conclude during an explosive finale at a German propoganda movie screening.


2) The chapters vary in both length, and quality yet a common theme is that many of them feature extended conversations with characters sitting around tables. A lot of them. And they are mainly carried out in the character's native language, which is usually German or French. I can appreciate the authencity of the decision, however, it also makes it difficult to fully enjoy the performances when you are staring at the subtitles versus their facial expressions and delivery. Tarantino has been steadily falling in love with these long conversation pieces that typically involve a mounting tension which may ultimately lead to violence, and before that, a Mexican stand-off. He has used this device effectively in the past, but this is also starting to produce mixed results as he has begun to really take his sweet time in reaching the end of the conversation. The first chapter in 'Basterds' utilizes this device extremely well. Chapters 3 and 4 are a different matter, however, as that is where the film bogs down and loses some of its momentum.

3) Brad Pitt does an excellent job as Lt. Aldo "The Apache" Raines, a clever and violent hillbilly commander of the Basterds. With a thick backwoods accent and porn-star mustache, Pitt underplays the role, which makes it even funnier and more rewarding as the part was written in such a way that it could have invited overacting. But unlike his recent turn in 'Burn After Reading' (where he went over-the-top), Pitt utlitizes a less is more attitude and the movie is much better off for his choice.

Tarantino has always had an eye for casting, and 'Basterds' is no exception. The supporting and minor roles are all fleshed out extremely well by the actors with Waltz's German enforcer leading the way in terms of quality. He is outstanding, and a possible dark horse candidate for a best supporting Oscar nomination. Eli Roth as "the Bear Jew" who decapitates Germans with a baseball bat is also quite good.




4) If there's one group of people who directors can take violent aim at while not losing their audience sympathy it's the Nazis. The only other group that comes close is pedophiles.


5) Overrall, I was slightly disappointed with 'Basterds.' You can't expect a director to repeat his past glories ('Reservoir Dogs' and 'Pulp Fiction' for me), however, my main wish for Tarantino's next film is that he freely chooses or someone forces him to move back into writing it so that it exists somewhere inside the real world. 'Dogs' and 'Pulp' existed on that plane, but Tarantino has steadily been moving into a hyperbolic B-movie existence that started with 'Kill Bill' (a really fine and entertaining set of movies) kept going with 'Death Proof' (his weakest movie by far and which mainly consisted of characters sitting around tables and talking) and continues with 'Basterds,' which re-writes history so completely that it slams you over the head with how fake everything is.

Tarantino couldn't make a boring movie if he tried, and while 'Basterds' does deliver many thrills and excellent stretches during the running time, I'm simply ready for him to take aim at a project that moves back towards his roots.

-BDS

Quick Hit Friday . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Friday, August 21, 2009 20 comments

“No more yankie my wankie. The Donger need food,” – Long Duck Dong, “Sixteen Candles”


Mr. Dong was a funny creation that really could have only come to fruition in the 80s when things were a bit looser on exactly what was deemed offensive. I will tread the line carefully today since my VP has been in town all week, but he leaves today, so with some luck, I will still be out the door by mid-afternoon with the weekend to stare down.

Before that happens, however, let’s look at the hard stories of the week such as:

Grey’s Anatomy” actor Eric Dane, and his actress wife, Rebecca Gayheart were featured in a nude video posted on Gawker.com this week.

The couple who have been married since 2004 were joined in the video by former beauty queen Kari Ann Peniche, and it was shot at her Studio City apartment. In the edited clip posted on the Web site, the threesome appear fully nude and take turns passing around the camera as they discuss what their porn names would be.

Dane settles on the name of famous bull riding champion Tuff Hedeman. At one point, Gayheart says she needs to lie down on the bed because she feels "very high." The website reports that Peniche has most recently been working as a madam in Hollywood.


I wish I was invited to more parties like that one because even though I loathe the TV show, I love to play Anatomy.

Alyssa Milano wed Hollywood agent David Bugliari at his family's estate in New Jersey this past week, her rep confirmed to People magazine.

The couple exchanged traditional vows under a wrought-iron gazebo decorated with willow, calla lilies and roses. Milano, wearing a custom gown by Vera Wang, walked down an aisle to the tune of John Lennon's "Imagine."


When I was younger, I used to ‘Imagine’ myself in all kinds of situations with Milano, but I guess Bugliari showed me and Tony Danza ‘Who’s the Boss’ with this marriage.

In other ‘Who’s the Boss’ news, Tony Danza will teach an audience of Philadelphia 10th-graders beginning this fall for a yet-to-be-titled reality show on teaching.

School commissioners approved the plan Wednesday, and the vote allows at least 13 episodes to be shot and broadcast on the cable channel A&E.


Meanwhile, U.S. officials continue to worry about the nation’s falling test scores.

On Tuesday night, Britney Spears made her first appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman" in nearly three years and the pop star wore a bikini to read off the Top 10 list of the night.

In the pre-taped segment, Spears sat atop a desk to read off "Top 10 Ways the Country Would Be Different if Britney Spears Were President." She listed items such as, "We would only invade fun places like Cabo," "Three words: Vice President Diddy,” "I'd be the first president to wear eye shadow since Nixon" and "Free pie for everyone."


Unfortunately, Kevin Federline had first crack at the pie, which ruined it for the rest of us.

A judge ruled this week that Paris Hilton is not liable for $8.3 million in damages for allegedly failing to promote a 2006 film she starred in – “National Lampoon’s Pledge This!”

In his ruling, the judge noted: “Much time was spent on Paris Hilton's busy schedule, including how long it takes for Paris Hilton to do her hair (over 3 hours), whether she could promote “Pledge This!” while visiting Japan and Austria to promote other products, or whether she should have spent Christmas with her family in Hawaii instead of promoting the movie.”

Crucially, the judge noted that lawyers could not show an “actual contractual provision, and could proffer no specific testimony from anyone who actually decided to invest in the movie, that Ms. Hilton's prospective promotion of the DVD release, in particular, induced their investment.”


In the end, however, the Judge simply decided that any investor who funds a Paris Hilton movie project deserves to lose their money.

Robin Wright and her husband, Sean Penn, are calling it quits on their more than decade-long marriage – again – as People magazine reported this week that Wright Penn has filed for divorce.

The magazine says Wright and Penn, who have had a tumultuous relationship, have agreed to share custody of their 16-year-old son, Hopper Jack. Court papers cite "irreconcilable differences" for the split. The couple married in April 1996 and they have twice before filed for divorce or separation only to dismiss their petition a short time later.


Wake me when the divorce finally sticks.

Canadian superstar singer Celine Dion is pregnant with her second child after undergoing fertility treatment at a clinic in New York, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The Journal de Montreal said Dion, 41, was due to give birth next May. Dion already has a eight-year-old son with husband Rene Angelil.


After dodging a bullet the first time, some critics are now worried that Dion’s next child could in fact be the Devil incarnate.

As always, let’s end with a gold image or two:



It's still the dead of summer, so a triple B dose seems in order as blue skies, blue water and breasts never go out of fashion. So, take a look up today, keep your head out of the clouds and . . . Happy Friday!

-BDS

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Lunchtime Liquor . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, August 19, 2009 21 comments

I sometimes spend my lunch hour at Specs, a large beer/wine/liquor store that also stocks cigars and specialty food items and is situated about five minutes from my office.


I’ve spent more time there during the summer as I’ve been trying to stock my fledging home bar. It’s a nice place – cool and dark, stocked with interesting bar gadgets, boasts an excellent Men’s Room, and most importantly, it has a massive variety of alcohol from around the world with relatively low prices to complement the selection.


But lately, some of the other patrons are starting to depress me.

When it’s 11 a.m. on a Tuesday, and several people are using a grocery carts to hold all the liquor they plan to buy, it seems like a little much, like you might have a bit of an alcohol problem – especially when I saw you in here last Tuesday doing the same thing and I bet you didn’t host a party during the interval.

I sometimes carry a basket, but I vowed to stay away from carts after witnessing such actions.

There are also a lot of people who purchase Jagermeister. I figure if you’re still drinking Jagermeister more than 5 years outside of college, then you probably have an alcohol problem or at least an alcohol judgment problem.


When I was there yesterday, a prominent sign had gone up on the front doors reading: “You must wear shoes and a shirt to enter here.” I’ve seen variations on this sentiment at businesses for years, and although I have yet to see someone running around barefoot and topless at Spec’s, I guess it’s only a matter of time before I catch a half-nude person pushing a shopping cart up and down the aisles.

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that you find frequent indulgers at a liquor store. It’s like complaining about being surrounded by perverts at a peep show. I should probably just find different places to visit during my lunch hour anyway because I always worry about a co-worker driving by as I walk outside to my car, carrying a bottle inside a brown paper bag at 11:45 a.m.

It’s hard to explain that one away.

-BDS

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Thoughts on 'District 9' . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, August 17, 2009 17 comments

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Matinee. If you're a Sci-Fi geek or someone who gets turned on by anything having to do with aliens (I do not), then you could justify paying full price for 'District 9." If not, a matinee would deliver excellent value as this is an entertaining and clever film.

Will I Own It On DVD: Doubtful. I'd like to watch it one more time on Blu Ray, but I don't see a purchase in my future unless it was on sale for a deep, deep discount.

Overrall Grade: B+


1) You have to hand it to the marketing team for 'District 9' because this movie boasts no stars, a low budget ($30 million), a no name director and yet it has generated enormous buzz in recent weeks as a must-see summer movie (see recent cover of 'Entertainment Weekly' among other things). Good buzz can sometimes fizzle out when the actual product is released - see 'Snakes on a Plane' or better yet, don't - but 'District 9' warrants its attention as it provides a refreshing take on the alien movie genre and uses a propulsive style to keep the action moving at a crisp pace.

2) The plot follows what happens once an alien spaceship comes to Earth, and instead of landing in a major city in the United States (where most of these movies typically take place), it hovers above Johannesburg, South Africa until authorities converge on it and open the hatch to find a million starving aliens running around helpless in the dark. The government ends up taking them off the ship, and places them inside a plot of fenced-off land called District 9, a place that quickly becomes an alien ghetto. The aliens remain there for 20 years until a privately-run security company is asked to move them to concentration camps after the city residents become fed-up with their presence.


3) The movie is shot with a documentary style which gives it a newsworthy feel, a decision which establishes credibility that the scenario depicted in the film could actually be happening right now. This definitely helps ground the movie in some kind of reality that you can believe in for the two hour running time, and is a choice that allows for a suspension of disbelief to take hold that allows the audience to invest in the characters as they respond to increasingly difficult situations.

4) As I mentioned, there are no "stars" or name actors in this film. This is another fine choice by the producers since it only reinforces the believable fictional world that has been created. That being said, the main actor who plays an enthusiastic bureaucrat who goes from a promotion to the hunted following alien contamination is excellent. He nails both the bland, nice-guy middle manager corporate drone as well as the resourceful fugitive and gives the audience someone to root for among the action.


5) 'District 9' has been hailed as a monumental film in this genre, an allegorical alien tale that is as deep as it is entertaining. I don't entirely buy that line of thinking. It certainly has more on its mind than your standard alien movie fare. It also treads lightly on the effects of discrimination and apartheid, although it wisely doesn't beat you over the head with that message, and at the end of the day, the film is simply a clever and entertaining project that delivers the goods.

-BDS

{Editor's Note: Since writing this review, 'District 9' opened as the #1 movie of the weekend with nearly $40 million in ticket sales.}

Quick Hit Friday . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Friday, August 14, 2009 27 comments

“You can start by wiping that fucking dumb-ass smile off your rosey, fucking, cheeks! Then you can give me a fucking automobile: a fucking Datsun, a fucking Toyota, a fucking Mustang, a fucking Buick! Four fucking wheels and a seat!” – Steve Martin, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”


That’s the start (though not the finish) of a great cinematic tirade that most people have felt like unleashing at one time or another with rental car agencies, who are often staffed with loathsome bureaucratic baboons. But I plan to yell at nobody today, and instead, will focus on leaving the office by 3 p.m. to start the weekend.

Before that happens, however, let’s look at the hard stories of the week, many of which took place at The Teen Choice Awards where:

Miley Cyrus, star of Disney sitcom Hannah Montana, performed a pole dance this past Sunday at the Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles.

Cyrus traded in her wholesome style for black hot-pants and leather biker boots as she took to the stage to sing 'Party in the USA' during the ceremony and during the performance, Cyrus, 16, gyrated and clutched at a metal pole.

Since then, Cyrus has been attacked by parents who are angry with the performance and feel it was not suitable for an audience of teenage girls.


I thought that pole dancing was practically a required class at most schools these days, but I guess I was mistaken.

Also at the show, comedian Dane Cook had his quip about "High School Musical" star Vanessa Hudgens, 20, cut from the broadcast after Cook made reference to nude cell phone pics of Hudgens which have been circulating on the Internet.

On stage at the awards show, Cook looked towards Hudgens and said: "Girl, you gots to keep your clothes! Phones are for phone calls, girl."Cameras caught Hudgens looking very angry in her seat, and Fox later spliced the gag out of the awards show broadcast.


Cook was especially angry because that’s the first semi-funny thing he’s uttered in years.

Finally, the Teen Awards Show also made news from the pre-show Red Carpet as comedian Kathy Griffin brought Levi Johnston - the teenage ex-fiance of Bristol Palin, daughter of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin – as her date to the ceremony.

“She’s beautiful and funny,” Johnston told Access Hollywood. “She’s the star of the night.”


There were no reports about whether Johnston shed his Levi’s for Griffin later that night, which is probably a very good thing.

Kourtney Kardashian – Kim Kardashian’s older sister – announced this week that she is expecting her first child.

"We were in the Everglades and I kept feeling nauseous and sick," Kourtney tells E!. "I just kept thinking something wasn't right. ... I went to the doctor and he confirmed the news. I was just so shocked."


I’m shocked that anyone felt the need to report this story – even me.

Country music duo Brooks & Dunn, who dominated country music charts for almost two decades, said on Monday they would break up after a farewell tour next year.

Singer/guitarists Kix Brooks, 54, and Ronnie Dunn, 56, said in a statement that "it's just time" for the split, which surprised music industry observers.

"After 20 years of making music and riding this trail together, we have agreed as a duo that it's time call it a day," they said. "This ride has been everything and more than we could ever have dreamed.... We owe it all to you, the fans. If you hear rumors, don't believe them, it's just time."


Brooks and Dunn later added that together they will “ride off into the sunset, steer rope a dream they’ve been chasing, stay atop the wild bull of life for 8 seconds and perform any other western cliché you can imagine too.”

The Fox network announced that it will air a two-hour prime-time special later this month on the "Octomom," Nadya Suleman.

The documentary is scheduled for Aug. 19 and is called "Octomom: The Incredible Unseen Footage." It's billed as a look inside the life of the single mother of 14.


This is a surprising move by Fox considering their reputation for quality programming and overwhelmingly classy reporting.

After a nearly 20-year hiatus, actor Paul Reubens announced Monday that he would be playing Pee-wee Herman in a new stage show at the Music Box @ Fonda in Hollywood.

“I’ve put part of him away for a long time, but part of him has always been here with me,” Reubens said. “I think it will be like riding a bike — which is not a bad analogy for Pee-wee, by the way.” But he added: “I have some fear that he won’t be funny after all this time. I don’t want to ruin it.”

The production, titled “The Pee-wee Herman Show” and set to run Nov. 19-29, is a reimagined version of the actor’s original theatrical show of the same name that began at the Groundlings Theatre in 1981 and eventually led to an HBO special, TV series and the 1985 film “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” directed by Tim Burton.


It also led to a charge of public indecency inside a porn theater, but I assume Reubens will leave that walk down memory lane out of the new production.

As always, let’s end with a gold image or two:



There’s really never anything wrong with thongs or helping hands, so feel free to wear or offer them both today, find whatever position works best for you and . . . Happy Friday!

-BDS

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Bathing With The Drunken Viking . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, August 12, 2009 18 comments

{This is the 29th entry in a recurring series that will only happen when I have consumed far too many spirits. Last night, I wallowed in a refreshing tequila drink called a Mexican Summer Smash which triggered strange thoughts, candid insights and pure horseshit. Selah.}



• The odds of picking up a hot bartender are astronomically low, so tip normally when confronted with one.


• Whenever anyone slides on a pair of rubber gloves in the same room as you, something awful is about to happen.

• Hot tubs are great places to start fooling around, but horrible places to finish


• You can save money on paper towels, but never spare expense on toilet paper

• Absolutely nobody looks good in the mirror at an airport bathroom

• It’s best to always be two steps removed from your drug dealer.

• Swinging on a swing set never gets old even when you do.


• But never go to a park alone to do your swinging or you’ll be arrested.

• Your car will never make the same noise it makes for you when you take it to a mechanic or service dealer – ever.

• Always keep $500 in cash hidden somewhere inside your house.


“The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whiskey. By diligent effort, I learned to like it.” – Winston Churchill

-BDS

Thoughts on 'Funny People' . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, August 10, 2009 14 comments

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Matinee or rental. 'Funny People' is sporadically funny though far enough away from a traditional Judd Apatow comedy that it should be viewed during an afternoon theater trip or possibly by waiting for DVD as it won't suffer much at all in the transition to the small screen.

Will I Own It On DVD: No. I might watch it one more time (or at least parts of it), but that doesn't justify spending money to buy it.


1) 'Funny People' is a movie that happens when a writer/director (Apatow) decides that he wants to explore deeper concepts from his first few projects ('40 Year Old Virgin, 'Knocked Up'), and the studio agrees due to the overhwhelming success of those earlier efforts. The results in 'Funny People' are uneven - although still largely enjoyable - and it's the juxtaposition of the heavy subject matter (serious illness) alongside the standard dick jokes of the Apatow genre that push this film to nearly 2 1/2 hours, a running time that is utterly ridiculous and more than a bit self-indulgent.

2) That being said, I don't begrudge Apatow for wanting to add more depth to his movies, and he does a fair job in 'Funny People.' The plot concerns a comedy star (Adam Sandler) who learns he has a serious blood disease which might kill him. Sandler's character came from the world of stand-up comedy, and when he starts to examine his life after the diagnosis, he returns to the stage and hires a young, hungry comedian (Seth Rogen) to help him write jokes and act as his personal assistant. Together, they bond over the process of making people laugh as Sandler attempts to fight his illness and possibly re-connect with the love of his life (Leslie Mann) who got away.



3) I'm not a big Adam Sandler fan. Outside of 'Happy Gilmore' and 'Punch-Drunk Love' and maybe 'The Wedding Singer' on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I could do without him. I certainly don't think he's a comic genius like some people do. But he's very solid in 'Funny People' as manages to capture the self-absorption of a major movie star yet couple it with enough self awareness and humor to make him palatable to the audience. He holds the film together with a serious boost from a talented supporting cast of familiar Apatow players.

4) Apatow regulars Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann and Jonah Hill all give Sandler excellent support, although Rogen does look a little strange having lost significant amounts of weight, a condition that other characters in the movie comment on as well. In addition, Jason Schartzmann and Eric Bana both prove to be good additions to the ensemble cast, especially Bana who seems to be having a fun time playing a comedic role for a change.


5) As much as anything, ‘Funny People’ is about the world of stand-up comedy. This was one of the more interesting parts for me as Apatow came from that world, and he nails the dynamics by showing the camaraderie and the competition, the boasting and the insecurity and the quest of everyone to find something that is funny above all else.

Overall, ‘Funny People’ is not a complete misfire, nor is it a rousing success. Instead, it falls somewhere in the middle as it’s far from a waste of time thanks to solid performances and writing, however, it’s also not quite good enough to demand 2 ½ hours either.

-BDS

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