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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.09%
Worth A Look: 22.64%
Pretty Bad: 15.09%
Total Crap: 21.7%

8 reviews, 58 user ratings

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Saving Silverman
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Silverman Too Stupid To Bother Saving"
2 stars

Everyone loves a good fart joke. Sure, it’s immature and ranks atop the list of lowbrow humor. But we laugh anyway, because we can’t help it. It’s ingrained in our nature to laugh ever since childhood and the silence of our Kindergarten naptime was interrupted when one of our classmates ripped one. But therein lies the key to the fart – the sound. That noise is what makes our lips curl and regresses us back to age 5. A fart in close proximity, on the other hand, may first generate a laugh, but is usually followed with a face of absolute horror as an aroma of death surrounds the offending party and you have to run away as fast as you can. Saving Silverman is a film like that.

The Darren Silverman (Jason Biggs) of the title is one of a trio. He’s been best friends with Wayne (Steve Zahn) and J.D. (Jack Black) since grade school and in their spare time rock for spare change in a Neil Diamond tribute band. Wayne tells us that Silverman has always had a soft spot for the ladies, so its no surprise that he’s attracted to the gorgeous Judith (Amanda Peet). Those few words to describe Silverman’s weakness for the opposite sex is about as minimal as the reason for why Judith wants to control her opposites.

So the saying goes, opposites attract, and soon enough Judith and Silverman are in a six-week sexless relationship where all the pleasure heads her way. After the expected disastrous meeting of Judith and his best buds, she forbids him to hang with them anymore under the threat of taking away his self-gratification privileges. But losers must stick together, so Wayne and J.D. set off on a plan to sabotage the relationship, including kidnapping her, faking her death and playing matchmaker with Silverman’s high school crush, Sandy (Amanda Detmer), who’s about to walk down the holy path as a nun.

Thus goes the attempt to merge a classic premise from screwball farce with the toilet humor of Adam Sandler, Tom Green and the Farrelly Brothers. Every comedy must be grounded with some level of reality, no matter how slight. Then you can elevate that level to whatever extreme you can get away with. The filmmakers understand the extreme part, but make it hard for us to believe that Silverman is such a wimpy tool, that he’s blind to the possessive nature of Judith, who at one point even calls herself “the puppet master.” So why does Silverman have to be such an idiot and why is Judith not given a single trait to make us believe why he would love her?

Saving Silverman doesn’t aspire to the equivalent of a social satire on the battle between the sexes. It’s going for cheap laughs, but with your bargain basement standards of animals attacking heads, run-of-the-mill slobbery tactics, one too many male butt jokes and lame gay humor that might have been funny 20 years ago. There is one sequence alone where there are no less than 5 pratfalls, as just an example of how a thoughtless attempt at a laugh can be written so frequently into a script. The big highlight is to bring Neil Diamond himself into the climax. What’s the deal with the trend with prominently featuring 70s songwriters into teen comedies? Can’t Hardly Wait did it with Barry Manilow a few years back and now this.

Steve Zahn and Jack Black are playing nothing more than variations on loud buddy characters they’ve played before in countless other movies. What few laughs they do produce seem to be little improvised nuggets rather than ingenuity in the script. Amanda Peet fundamentally plays what her character in Whipped turned out to be in the end, a bitchy Sex and the City excuse for a woman, that might have been funny if she were giving something remotely interesting to play against with Darren Silverman. And Jason Biggs continues to be a likable presence on film, so likable that we wish the screenwriters had at least footnoted him a pair of balls as Silverman. After roles in Boys and Girls, Loser and this, American Pie 2 (like Darren Silverman) can’t come soon enough.

If Saving Silverman knew where to start from and screenwriters Hank Nelken & Greg DePaul used something else besides pratfalls and dumping jokes, a genuine comedy (with lowbrow aspirations) could have emerged. The sexes battle cliches are all here. The controlling female partner and the friends she hates. No sex after marriage and Sandy representative of the Madonna/Whore complex. It may sound like nitpicking in such a ridiculous comedy, but its not. It’s the absence of that tinge of truth that makes it ridiculous. Comedy needs that tinge and Saving Silverman misses the reality in the film’s key relationship. I love fart jokes and Saving Silverman does have some good stupid laughs (most notably in the final act). But where they got the sound part of the fart right, they forgot to make it truly funny by overlooking the air freshener.

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originally posted: 02/09/01 10:59:03
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User Comments

5/28/10 wman sheer genius; hysterical 5 stars
5/24/10 Ben You apologize way too much for liking this awesome movie. 5 stars
6/04/09 art FOOLISH! 1 stars
12/22/08 Juice Palomino Horrible movie, absoloutly horrible. But I can't take my eyes away... 2 stars
10/03/08 Lenny Zane Spottily hilarious, but AmandaPeet as villainous fits about like PeeWeeHerman as JamesBond. 4 stars
8/30/08 Shaun Wallner This movie is so funny! 5 stars
5/07/08 Matt Utterly silly but raises a surprising number of laughs. Better than average fare. 4 stars
3/15/08 mousehunter absolutely horrible, but in a funny and enjoyable way 3 stars
10/16/06 Sugarfoot I never laugh at recent comedies but I tell you truly, I was giggling through out. 4 stars
10/06/05 Clubber lang Should be complete garbage, but somehow works way better than it should. 4 stars
8/12/05 ES I've actually had that nacho conversation (pre-movie)= ok 3 stars
7/22/05 tony Nothing too new. So it is a bad one 2 stars
7/02/05 Eddie Just another PG-13 comedy 3 stars
6/10/05 Rock-Steady Fa sho, this is about as funny as a kick in the nigger. what? 5 stars
2/02/05 Jeff Anderson A mean spirited, but absolutely hilarious comedy. Steve Zahn & Jack Black are a riot. 4 stars
9/23/04 Joe Hall Personally, I love this movie. Every time I see it I just get happier! 5 stars
6/13/04 Kayla wasn't the best. wasn't the worst. 3 stars
10/19/03 cinkcool alright 4 stars
6/26/03 Chiend Abominable. Everyone involved with this rancid shit-fest deserves censure. 1 stars
4/14/03 Jack Sommersby Pretty decent. Some failed gags, but the majority of it is amusing. 3 stars
3/23/03 Renee Keener Awesome. Jason Biggs should've won best actor! 5 stars
3/17/03 Cameron Slick Worst Movie Ever. 1 stars
1/04/03 John Aster Habig steve zahn and jack black save the film 4 stars
12/14/02 Jimmy Jamez the hand of god couldnt save this film 1 stars
8/14/02 Bryan Brooks Surprisingly amusing. 3 stars
8/13/02 P.Rodriguez I must admit kinda like it. Biggs is great 4 stars
7/15/02 darth brett this is shite in the extreme 1 stars
6/25/02 Tom Kelley I don't get these Reviews, I loved this movie, Steve Zahn and Jack Black are the funniest! 5 stars
4/16/02 Film Guy Biggs-American Pie, Black- Orange County Zahn- Joy Ride. Much Better than this 1 stars
3/29/02 Renay I loved it, Steve Zahn is the best 5 stars
3/29/02 Renee Keener Awesome. Jason Biggs should've won best actor! 5 stars
3/17/02 Some guy The person who reviewed this has no sense of humor. 5 stars
3/08/02 Diamonds in the Rust, baby! Neil Diamond friggin rocks, man!!!! 4 stars
2/20/02 Cherie I think Neil Diamond is too sophisticated for your review and this movie is just plain fun! 4 stars
2/18/02 Butterbean Not as bad as critics say. The coach and Jack Black saved this one. 3 stars
2/15/02 Carmen Crowe Jason Biggs for best actor! (More worthy than Renee Zellweger for best actress!) 5 stars
1/30/02 Jeremy funny as hell 5 stars
1/25/02 Carolyn (big Neil Diamond fan) Groovy, although coach shitting in yard is over the top 4 stars
1/17/02 FrEaKsO BaBe! it's so funny! although script wasnt so deep..but overall its good! 4 stars
1/11/02 Jenna Its best watched with a sense of humour 4 stars
1/08/02 Spyguy2 Had no expectations going in...funnier than I expected with some big laughs 4 stars
12/10/01 Andrew Carden Jason Biggs Really Failed With This One. 1 stars
9/28/01 HM3 Makes Dude, Where's My Car? look like Gone With the Wind. 1 stars
9/17/01 Bri wacky, and fun 4 stars
9/16/01 chris it was ok... better if amanda peet took it all off 3 stars
9/07/01 Monday Morning Sophomoric humor, but great sophomoric humor. Very funny. 4 stars
8/10/01 chouck very silly 4 stars
5/23/01 Lohsandt Pretty Damn Funny 5 stars
5/13/01 samira good 5 stars
3/21/01 Brandi Terry Sophomoric Comedy 2 stars
2/13/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi But I saw this immediately after "O Brother...", so I was rather jaded... 3 stars
2/11/01 TimmyToday Everyone should see this crap today!!! 5 stars
2/11/01 miyax What the hell...? 1 stars
2/10/01 frankko i thought Black was pretty stupid. he was so much better in HIGH FIDELITY. 2 stars
2/05/01 TDlove Jack Black is awesome, if you like Tenacious D, you will love this movie 4 stars
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  09-Feb-2001 (PG-13)


  13-Dec-2001 (M)

Directed by
  Dennis Dugan

Written by
  Hank Nelken
  Greg DePaul

  Jason Biggs
  Steve Zahn
  Jack Black
  Amanda Peet
  Amanda Detmer
  Neil Diamond

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