Ones on 1: The rambling, personal charm of “Funny People”

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 8.56.10 PMOnes on 1 is a monthly feature in which I write about a selected film that reached number one at the box office for precisely one weekend. This month, we examine the film that took the crown on August 2, 2009: Funny People.

Five years removed from its theatrical run, it seems particularly insane that a film like Judd Apatow’s Funny People was given a wide release. It’s hard to even recall a recent independent movie that has aimed for the same kind of specific, rambling ambition. There may not be another movie like it, and that is both to its credit and detriment. It isn’t terribly unique on a micro level, but when looking at the big picture—and all the bits, conflicts and ideas it throws into its 146-minute stew—it reveals just how strange and admirable this whole undertaking was. This could only be made by someone who had already reached the top of the mountain, and by the time Funny People came out, Apatow was on an unparalleled roll. This film ended that roll, but it clearly wasn’t for lack of trying. Continue reading