Alas, my prayers were not answered. Saving Silverman is an often-funny farce -- and probably the best comedy we're going to see until the summer -- but it's a poor imitation of some much better movies, desperately longing to be Woody Allen while ending up as Adam Sandler.
Essentially a romantic comedy, Saving Silverman puts Jason Biggs in the unenviable role as Darren Silverman -- the straight man against crackups Steve Zahn and Jack Black, playing his two best friends since he was a wee lad. Every one a loser, the trio are content to watch football and play on the pier as a Neil Diamond look-alike band ("Diamonds in the Rough"), until Amanda Peet's Judith enters the picture.
The lovelorn Darren is suckered into to Judith's evil spell, failing to see her as the blatant maneater she obviously is. Sheeven refuses to have sex until they are married (which is probably a good thing, because Peet looks so much older than Biggs, it would probably be statutory rape if they did). Upon their engagement, she even schemes to have Darren take her last name!
Immediately, Wayne (Zahn) and J.D. (Black) leap into action to prevent the atrocity of marriage, hatching a plot to kidnap Judith and set up Darren with his old sweetheart Sandy (Amanda Detmer). Slapstick hijinks ensue, and by the time you get to the scene with the iron-pumping nuns, the entire film has degenerated into a silly, sloppy mess (elapsed time: about 45 minutes).
Overall, the jokes in Saving Silverman miss as often as they hit. For every raccoon-on-the-head scene there's R. Lee Ermey squatting in the front yard. For every Jack Black stuffing his mouth with spaghetti there's someone falling into a body of water somewhere. Which of these is the funny scene and which is not is left to the reader as an exercise.
Obviously, Saving Silverman aims pretty low in order to rein in the PG-13 crowd, but it keeps on punching below the belt. Black and Zahn are funny enough in their moronic goofball roles, but as Black proved in High Fidelity, how much funnier is this guy when he plays it upmarket?
Here come the broads.
Run time: 90 mins
In Theaters: Friday 9th February 2001
Box Office USA: $19.0M
Box Office Worldwide: $19.4M
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Production compaines: Village Roadshow Pictures, Columbia Pictures Corporation, NPV Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 18%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 82
IMDB: 5.9 / 10
Director: Dennis Dugan
Producer: Neal H. Moritz
Starring: Jason Biggs as Darren Silverman, Steve Zahn as Wayne Lefessier, Jack Black as J.D. McNugent, Amanda Peet as Judith Fessbeggler, Amanda Detmer as Sandy, R. Lee Ermey as Coach, Neil Diamond as Himself, Kyle Gass as Bar Dude, Christopher Logan as Vageet, Colin Foo as Old Man