I believe that The 40 Year Old Virgin is one of the finest comedies of the last couple of decades, and deliberately saved Knocked Up for when I needed a good laugh, but found myself sorely disappointed by that flick. While Virgin was all about giving a human face to a high-concept flick, Knocked Up was born more out of the personal neuroses and problems of Judd Apatow, and while there is humor to be mined there, to be sure, Apatow seemed somehow too close to the material, too personally invested to allow the film to really take off the way that Virgin did. I was so disappointed by Knocked Up that I still haven't even seen Superbad, although I know that Apatow produced that one and didn't direct.
Now here's the trailer for Funny People.
Okay, besides the pretty generic title that's a little too close to last year's Smart People for me (and the presence of Adam Sandler in another two-word movie brings to mind Bedtime Stories), the maudlin tone and general lack of energy make me think this is a lot more Knocked Up than Virgin. I love Seth Rogen and I think the idea of seeing him do standup is a good one, but this trailer just makes me think it's sort of like a Bucket List for people my age, a generic feel-good piece of emotional pap that avoids any real depth while also managing to not be very funny.
I'd love to be wrong, but I really wish that Apatow would team back up with Steve Carell.
(Just for the record, I liked Pineapple Express a lot and adore Forgetting Sarah Marshall. And Observe and Report looks like a lot better mix of comedy and dark character drama than Funny People.)