I have to ask. Is it possible for Funny People to hit the box office sweet spot of No. 1 with a $23.4 million weekend take and still be a fizzle? The New York Times‘ headline this morning declares: “Funny People Disappoints at Box Office.” Huh? What? The tone of the article suggests that filmmaker Judd Apatow spent too much dough ($75 miilion) to make a serious comedy that might disappoint fans of Apatow’s The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up (both costing about $30 million). And what was Apatow thinking by casting his megastar friend Adam Sandler in a movie about a comedian battling a potentially terminal disease. If I’m reading right, Apatow and Sandler have let down audiences by trying to grow as filmmakers. WTF? That kind of message precisely pinpoints what’s wrong with how movies are perceived in our current culture. By box-office standards, Transformers 2 is a triumph and Hurt Locker is an arty gnat that deserves squashing.
So let me ask the question about Funny People that needs asking now that many of you have seen it: What did you think of the movie? Funny People is only the third movie Apatow has directed, after The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. Is Funny People Apatow’s best movie or his worst? How would you rank the three movies in order of preference? I have my reasons, now it’s time to hear yours.