Critics Consensus: Funny People Is Ambitious But Uneven
Plus, guess the Tomatometers for Aliens in the Attic and The Collector.
This week at the movies, we've got the tears of a clown (Funny People, starring Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen), extra-terrestrial visitors upstairs (Aliens in the Attic, starring Kevin Nealon and Tim Meadows), and a robbery gone wrong (The Collector, starring Josh Stewart and Madeline Zima). What do the critics have to say?
With Funny People, Judd Apatow is attempting to walk a fine line: keep 'em laughing while documenting the trials of a famous comedian staring death in the face. Critics say the results are uneven: the film is stellar (and hilarious) for much of its running time, but stumbles in its long third act. Adam Sandler stars as George Simmons, a famous (but lonely) funnyman who's been diagnosed with a terminal disease. He teams up with a younger stand-up comic (Seth Rogen) and tries to reconnect with a long-lost sweetheart (Leslie Mann), attempting (but often failing) to become a better person in the process. The pundits say Funny People features excellent performances (especially Sandler) and some sharp insights into the life of a performer. However, some of the scribes feel the movie runs a bit too long, and a late plot development strikes many as contrived. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Apatow's best-reviewed productions.)
It appears Aliens in the Attic is light-years beyond the critics, as it wasn't screened prior to release. The movie tells the tale of a group of kids who discover hostile extraterrestrial life upstairs, and are forced to defend the planet themselves when their oblivious parents don't believe them. Kids, guess that Tomatometer!
The folks behind The Collector must have assumed it wouldn't acquire many positive reviews, since it was barely screened for the pundits. This thriller tells the story of a man who plans to rob a house, before discovering a much more sinister figure has taken over the domicile. Again, guess that Tomatometer!
Also opening this week in limited release:
- The Sweedish import You, the Living, a stylistically bold collection of darkly comic vignettes from director Roy Andersson, is at 100 percent.
- Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! , a documentary about the wild Aussie exploitation films of the 1970s and 1980s, is at 97 percent.
- The Cove, an investigative documentary about threats to the habitat of dolphins, is at 90 percent.
- Chan Wook Park's Thirst, about a priest who becomes a vampire, is at 84 percent.
- The Dardenne brothers' Lorna's Silence, about a financially-strapped young woman who is ensnared by the underworld, is at 82 percent.
- Flame & Citron, about a Danish family's efforts in the resistance against the Nazis in World War II, is at 79 percent.
- Adam, starring Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne in a romantic comedy about an enigmatic young man who meets a worldly young woman, is at 67 percent.
- Fragments, starring Kate Beckinsale and Guy Pearce in a drama about the survivors of a shooting spree, is at 56 percent.
- Ghosted, a drama about an artist who falls for a mysterious woman, is at zero percent.