Honestly when I first went to see this movie I had a fairly high expectation that all of the funny bits would have been in the trailer. It only took about 2 minutes to prove that assumption false. Instead, what I got was a surprisingly well told story to the back drop of hilarity. I mean, even if I'd been expecting it to be hilarious I wouldn't really have expected an actual story.
But far from being a movie you watch once in your life this is a story that must be seen twice (its actually better the second time) in order to get the full impact. Certain acts and behaviors (not to mention comments by unwitting characters) have much more meaning when you know Howie has cancer.
I really only had issue with two characters in the story. The first was Louie at the bar. I don't know who thought a thirty year old still trying to include himself in with a group of acquaintances would be funny, but . . . it wasn't. It just wasn't . It was a character that reeked of sadness. I didn't laugh at him so much as pity him and feel put off at the same time. After all, almost every attempt to include himself comes with a generous helping of manipulation. His character could have been completely removed with absolutely no negative effect on the story.
The other superfluous character was Dave, the attendant at Jerry's Gym. Now I'm fully aware that there are plenty of people out there hiding that they are gay. But this guy was so stereotypical in mannerism and dialogue that it wasn't funny. It was pathetic. I felt sorry for the guy, and that was before the group decided to water board him. Now, to be fair, that had nothing to do with his sexual orientation, although his attitude could well have been a contributed to the running start they made when crossing line. Fortunately they stopped themselves before actually committing a war crime in the name of winning a kids game.
The whole 'pretending to have a miscarriage' act (not to mention the log trap) was over the line too, but it was at least believable. And it played into the plot very well.
Overall this movie was far better than I'd expected. There are a couple of dull spots, but it presents probably the best story about friendship since The Sandlot. The action is well done. The actors nailed their rolls, even the rolls that should have been removed. And the live footage of the actual group at the end gave the entire movie a warm glowy feel. I give this movie an 89%, whilst simultaneously cringing at the studio exec currently considering a sequel.