SAVING SILVERMAN, by Dennis Dugan, the director of BIG DADDY, has a poster
with a giant-sized thumbs down. Consider it a giant-sized omen, for this
movie has more stale leftovers than a refrigerator two weeks after
Christmas. There isn't a fresh joke to be found anywhere in the script.
Your reaction watching the movie's grown-up teenagers is more likely to be
yawns than laughs. No matter how many times the characters fall down -- I
think the count runs into the hundreds -- it is never funny, not even once.
When people aren't falling down, they do other "original" stuff like having
food fights and making jokes about farts and masturbation.
The story concerns a guy, Darren Silverman (Jason Biggs), who is perpetually
unlucky in love, and a woman, Judith (Amanda Peet), who has him under her
thumb, hence the intended meaning of the movie's poster. Biggs, of course,
is the actor who was once lucky to have an infamous rendezvous with a pie,
which catapulted him into undeserved fame. Peet's claim to fame is her body
and her sassy attitude. Neither of the two leads are the least bit good in
SAVING SILVERMAN. This might be expected, but the awful performances by
Steve Zahn and Jack Black, as Darren's buddies Wayne and J.D., are a
surprise. Both have previously been brilliantly on the comedic mark, Zahn
in HAPPY, TEXAS and Black in HIGH FIDELITY.
Judith calls Wayne and J.D. "pigs," and truer words were never spoken. The
script, by Hank Nelken and Greg DePauls, revolves around Wayne and J.D.
trying to get their buddy Darren back from Judith's clutches. This scheme
eventually involves kidnapping Judith, while trying to reinterest Darren in
his old flame, Sandy (Amanda Detmer).
The movie, which is crude without ever being funny, features such gross-out
gags as a butt implant scene. There's also an attacking raccoon and a high
school football coach (R. Lee Ermey) who literally kills a referee for
making a bad call. Stop me when you've finished laughing.
To be fair, there are two mildly diverting parts to the picture. Amanda
Peet's slit-down-the-middle, revealing blouses do add an undeniable eye
candy factor to the film. And Neil Diamond, whom the three guys worship,
shows up for an extended cameo.
As soon as Judith first lays her eyes on Darren's buddies, she burns rubber
with her car's tires, getting away from the guys as fast as she can.
Watching the movie produces a similar desire.
SAVING SILVERMAN runs 1:31. It is rated PG-13 for crude sexual humor,
language and thematic material and would be acceptable for teenagers.
My son Jeffrey, almost 12, gave the movie * as well. He complained that it
was utterly predictable and that he didn't laugh once. He said the
characters were all dumb and stupid but not the least bit funny.
The film opens nationwide in the United States on Friday, February 9, 2001.
In the Silicon Valley it will be showing at the AMC and the Century
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes