Let’s talk about Funny People. Note the capitalization, so we’re not actually talking about humorous things, of jokes and quips that we find hilarious via our own thought processes. We’re talking about the upcoming film, with a title just as brilliant as those cinema classics, “Guns ‘n Stuff,” “A Breakup, Followed by Moping, Followed by Prince Charming,” and “Buy These Toys.” Since it hasn’t hit the theaters yet, I can’t really editorialize on the content of the film itself, just on the way in which it’s being presented.
And boy oh boy is there a lot to say about its marketing.
Usually, for generic comedy X (and Judd Apatow’s style of humor is becoming generic, like it or not) the trailer with feature some quick quips, perhaps some goofy physical pratfalls, pretty much a preview of the sort of hilarity you would hope to see in the entire feature. But not Funny People. See, Funny People is above actually showing humor, instead, it tells you how hilarious it is. Are you wondering whether or not Jonah Hill’s character in the film is hilarious? Well don’t worry, he doesn’t say anything sidesplitting, but he has a hugely successful YouTube video. If you can’t trust imaginary Internet users, then who can you put your faith in?
Is Seth Rogen a truly worthy up-and-coming stand-up comedian? His clips in the trailer may not impress, but a co-worker mentions that a terrible joke of his is kind of funny, so of course we should feel the same! Is Adam Sandler the funniest comedian in the world? Well…not really, oh wait! Everyone in the trailers seems completely bowled over by his hilarity, so I guess I…wait, is he telling a phallic joke that isn’t even worthy of an unforced grin? Funny People, you almost had me there, you almost had me fooled. And to think I thought that Funny People would include, you know, funny people!
And in case you didn’t know, the movie’s actually about Sandler’s character getting a life-ending disease or something, and is inching toward his inevitable death when it suddenly goes into remission so that Apatow can showcase his wife as “the girl that got away.” This sounds hilarious, doesn’t it?
Let’s compare the first trailer…
With a newer trailer…
I know how Sandler’s illness went into remission! The marketers just sliced it out entirely!
Well, either that or either Apatow or Universal don’t have any confidence in marketing the film as what it probably actually is…one can only hope that it turns out in the same way as the equally horribly marketed “In Bruges.”