Mark Reviews Movies

SAVING SILVERMAN

Ĺ Star (out of 4)

Director: Dennis Dugan

Cast: Jason Biggs, Steve Zahn, Jack Black, Amanda Peet, Amanda Detmer

MPAA Rating: (for crude and sexual humor, language, and thematic material)

Running Time: 1:30

Release Date: 2/9/01



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Review by Mark Dujsik

I laughed one time during Saving Silverman. It was not a laugh based on a good joke or gag, instead it was a laugh of desperation. With about ten minutes left in the movie, thereís a scene in which a woman is left at the altar, and she asks, "Whoís my special someone?" She sees a man she hates, runs down the aisle towards his waiting arms, grabs a chair, and hits him over the head. I let out a solid "Ha!" and felt relief. This gag was not funny, but after an hour and twenty minutes of dreadful attempts at comedy, I needed a laugh.

Wayne, J.D., and Darren (Steve Zahn, Jack Black, and Jason Biggs) are best friends since grade school. They were all on the high school football team as third-string quarterback, mascot, and cheerleader respectively. They now have a band that plays Neil Diamond songs, and they all are obsessed with singer/songwriter. But problems arise when Darren meets Judith (Amanda Peet) and falls in love. Judith is a demanding and controlling woman who always dresses in revealing clothes. So what are two best friends to do? They plan to kidnap Judith and hook Darren up with his "one and only special someone" Sandy (Amanda Detmer) whoís training to be a nun and also dresses in skimpy clothing.

Silverman is the newest "comedy" from director Dennis Dugan who has made such other "hits" as Big Daddy, Beverly Hills Ninja, and Happy Gilmore. Where does this one stand in relation to the others? Itís well at the bottom of the list. The movie has a problem deciding whether itís a gag-filled comedy or a more dialogue-driven comedy. The result is gags that at best donít work and at worst are pointless, and dialogue that suffers the same fate. The gags range from solo-yoga to weight-lifting nuns; it is truly a dreadful display.

The cast looks lost in this mess. Jason Biggs was decent in American Pie, but since then, he hasnít had much luck in choosing material. Jack Black was excellent in High Fidelity, but he is wasted here. Amanda Peet was great in The Whole Nine Yards and is also wasted. I remember Steve Zahn in Forces of Nature, Out of Sight, and SubUrbia, and, like the rest of the cast, I hope he finds better material in the future. The only slightly interesting character is the friendsí football coach played by R. Lee Ermey. Ermey is a reliable character actor, and his first appearance provides the only smile up until that ill-fated laugh I mentioned earlier. However, even he falls victim to the movieís weak jokes.

I spent more time analyzing the implausibility of the gags then I did even attempting to smile or, God forbid, laugh. For example, how can the coach be in jail for killing a referee at a game and ten minutes later be coaching at the same school? Or why does Sandy run away from Darren when he mentions Judith one too many times only to forgive him in the next scene? She makes him run thirty miles just so she can forgive him. Itís absolutely pointless.

Yes, Neil Diamond does make an appearance. I donít blame him; heís idolized in the movie. I have a feeling a lot of the cast agreed to do the movie when they learned he would be in it. He should be given credit for being a good sport, but of all the possibilities, why did he wait twenty years to appear in this movie? Why?

Copyright © 2001 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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