In new Adam Sandler movie Funny People that hits cinemas on Friday 28th August, a self-obsessed stand-up is given the opportunity to rewrite his life following a cancer diagnosis.
Can human suffering be amusing? Here, we take a look at other movies on the subject of second chances that also offer a few good laughs.
A Christmas Carol
Whether it’s the Muppets’ Christmas Carol or Mickey’s taking place as your favourite Dickensian adaptation, the universal tale of penny-counting miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who radically changes his tune when a trio of ghosts turn up to show him unpleasant visions of past and future, is the ultimate tale of life take-two, inspiring similar inspirational festive yarns, such as It’s a Wonderful Life.
Only the coal-hearted amongst us will fail to be moved by Scrooge’s realization that his mean spirits will come back to haunt him. Another performance-capture variation of the time-old tale will be released by Disney this year, starring Jim Carrey, Bill Murray and Gary Oldman.
Embittered news reporter Phil (Bill Murray) is understandably unhappy about being assigned to the annual Punxsutawney Groundhog festival again, moaning that his life has become repetitive.
In the long-established tradition of movies with a moral message, he consequently gets stuck in a time-loop that replays the day of February 2nd over and over and over again, driving him to futile suicide attempts.
Eventually Phil gets the point and uses the strange paranormal phenomenon to improve himself instead, as well as to win the heart of his Producer, played by Andie MacDowell.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
In this spectacular Charlie Kauffman-directed modern romance, unhappy ex-couple Joel and Clementine decide to wipe their destructive relationship from memory with the assistance of an innovative new technology.
Lost within memories of their courtship and its subsequent breakdown, they suddenly decide that they don’t want to forget each other after all and go fugitive, running through the labyrinthine channels of mind in order to escape the brain-erasers.
Starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst and Eliijah Wood, Eternal Sunshine offers only the most realistic, un-saccharine snap of second chance love: 'it may not work this time around either, but we’re willing to give it another shot.'
Jack Nicholson is the King of the cantankerous protagonist who grudgingly learns to love life, as seen in As Good As It Gets and The Bucket List to name a few. It is in About Schmidt, however, that his journey is most poignant.
Following his retirement from a Nebraskan insurance company, Warren Schmidt returns home to discover that his wife has died of a blood clot whilst hoovering the carpet. Unsure what to do next, he impulsively decides to adopt an African child and chase down his daughter in a Winnebago, intending on telling her exactly what he thinks of her new husband-to-be.
Various encounters later however, including one particularly memorable hot-tub incident with the delightful Kathy Bates, and Warren is reevaluating everything he has ever believed to be true.
Hollywood wunderkind Judd Apatow directs another winning gem in Funny People, the story of successful actor George, who is unhappy despite his relative fame and is estranged from his friends and family.
When he discovers that he has an 8% chance of recovering from leukemia, George (as played by Adam Sandler) returns to treading the boards in an attempt to retrace the steps of history and understand what went wrong.
He subsequently meets Seth Rogen’s Ira, who dreams of being a comedian but works in a deli, and the two comics exchange a barrage of rude humour and heartfelt witticisms. With Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman also co-starring, Funny People is a raw and touching story of life, love and change in the gloomy, looming face of death.
Funny People is released 28th August.