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George Simmons is a famous and rich comedian and actor, and he is seriously sick. Some form of blood cancer shakes the foundations of his life, and he turns rather arbitrarily to Ira, a young and not too talented comedian, draws him into his life, makes him assistant and trustee. The effort to cope with his disease also leads him to face his former love interest Laura again – and they both realise that this would be the chance of their life to make things right between them.
When reading my own content blurb, I realise it does not represent the film in the slightest. Why is that, I wonder? I think because the script, especially for the first half of the movie, is so brilliant that it manages to merge the genres of “disease drama” and “goofball comedy about comedians”. Both is done very solidly, and the combination could have gone tacky or annoying, but does not. This is a film about a group of professionals who depend on never allowing themselves to grow up, and on fighting with claws against the dominance of normality. That can be sad and hilarious at the same time, and it is (even though not as sad and depressing as that Jerry Seinfeld documentary I watched recently). The ruthlessness of Comedians’ comedy, the desperate hunt for the next joke and the rough competition is at least indicated. The script does so in a pleasantly entertaining manner, does insist on being fun while sharing some insights. Ans so it deserves the right to let sadness and disease seep in and out again. It works well, because Adam Sandler, when used properly, is a fantastic and mature actor. He is natural, cool, funny, vulnerable, virile, and everything a successful, arrogant, dying, desperate and cynical comedian needs to be. Seth Rogen is more like Seth Rogen standard, but that is also quite good, because what I liked about him in “knocked Up” and Superbad, too. He is not hysterical, but just one of these dudes with a loose tongue and sometimes a heart.
The film loses steam about halfway through its more than two hours running time. It seems as of the starting point was more than clear, the brilliance of throwing this character and actor into this kind of situation was evident – but when it came to the “and what happens to them” questions, some of the brains sneaked out of the writers’ room. Still a surprisingly enjoyable movie to me comedy-disliker

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