SAVING SILVERMAN (2001)
Starring Jason Biggs, Steve Zahn, Jack Black, Amanda Peet, Amanda Detmer, R. Lee Ermey and Neil Diamond.
Screenplay by Hank Nelken and Greg DePaul.
Directed by Dennis Dugan.
Distributed by Columbia Pictures. 90 minutes. Rated PG-13.
This movie is a train-wreck in so many ways that I don’t even know where to start. They blew a semi-clever concept about male bonding, in which two buddies try to pry an old friend away from a controlling girlfriend. Probably even worse is the fact that they took a cast that has been very good in other films, including Jason Biggs (American Pie), Steve Zahn (That Thing You Do!), Jack Black (High Fidelity), R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket) and Amanda Peet (The Whole Nine Yards) and totally wasted anything they had to offer.
The film is clunkily directed by Dennis Dugan, who once upon a time was an okay light actor (Richie Brockelman, Private Detective) but has long toiled behind the scenes on a series of stunningly unfunny “comedies” (Problem Child, Happy Gilmore, Beverly Hills Ninja, Big Daddy.)
The film stumbles from astonishingly unlikely situation after astonishingly unlikely situation. Peet plays a character that is so abhorrent that no sane person would ever date her – no matter how pretty she is – and no audience would ever believe for a second that Biggs would end up with her. (Personal note to Amanda Peet: be very careful. Your early films showed you to be beautiful, funny and a little kooky. You have played essentially the same girlfriend-from-hell role in this film and your previous stinker Whipped. This is not something you want to get typecast into if you want to have a career in two years.)
This movie is so lazy that it thinks the audience will take it as a given that because the three friends like Neil Diamond, they have to be losers without ever exploring why that would be. Diamond himself does a good-natured cameo (though his acting hasn’t improved all that much since The Jazz Singer.)
And the less said the better about the supposedly comical scenes involving car hit-and-runs, stun-guns to the genitals, raccoon attacks and butt implants. The worst sin perpetrated by Saving Silverman is that it’s a comedy that isn’t even remotely funny. (2/01)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright © 2001 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved. Posted: February 7, 2001.