Rex Reed on 'Funny People': Not for anyone with an IQ above 40
I haven't seen Judd Apatow's "Funny People" yet, but I can only hope that it's half as funny as Rex Reed's new review of the movie. Reed, who's been excoriating movies for 40 years -- he's now the critic at the New York Observer -- is famously cranky when it comes to films, or actors who rub him the wrong way. And once he gets cranky, the insults start coming fast and furious. After all, he is the man who once said of Al Pacino that "he's really starting to look like a troll under a drawbridge."
I took Reed out to lunch a few years ago in New York, which was a genuine treat, since Reed is a master raconteur, recounting a hilarious episode where he tripped and fell in New Orleans and ended up in a coma for 13 hours -- or as he put it, "I've never been unconscious for that long in my life, not even during the longest Otto Preminger movie." He also merrily skewered a variety of stars whose talents eluded him (a longtime Sandler hater, he called "Punch-Drunk Love" "one of the most pointless movies ever made") and generally enjoyed himself -- when I said that lunch was on me, Rex beamed, crowing "Well, if the L.A. Times is buying, I'm having steak!"
I doubt that even the prospect of another free meal would've encouraged any kind words from Reed about "Funny People," which opens this weekend and has been getting wildly mixed early reviews. But it's hard to imagine any review being worse than the one Reed has delivered. He starts out by calling the new film "a 146-minute mental lapse that should have been dipped in hydrochloric acid in the editing lab."
No one is spared from Reed's vitriol:
On Judd Apatow: "The most tasteless no-talent ... since John Waters and the Farrelly Brothers."
On Adam Sandler: "By contract, [he] should be legally prevented from ever appearing in a bathing suit."
On Jason Schwartzman: "If there is anyone more repulsive than Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, it is Jason Schwartzman, who also provided a musical score that makes construction-site jackhammers sound like Debussy's 'Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.' "
On Leslie Mann: "Mr. Apatow's spouse, who has appeared in both of the director's other moronic films ... [is] a terrible actress who speaks through her sinus cavities and sounds like she has a speech impediment."
In conclusion, Reed writes: "If you object to public offenses of decency, smut that reduces the oxygen in the brain or just plain lousy, amateurish filmmaking, it's easy enough to avoid 'Funny People' like the swine flu. Unfortunately, if you're a movie critic, the luxury of self-protection is not an option."
Photo of Rex Reed by Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times