Friday April 20, 2001
Ever since the now seemingly quaint days of Lenny Bruce, Terry Southern, Redd Foxx and their honorable heirs, those who have engaged in the art and science of grossing out the audience have justified their work by saying they want to push the envelope of mass tolerance as far as they can. At no time did any of those folks dare to predict what would happen when the envelope broke, indicating, perhaps, that they'd been as scared to find out as the rest of us.
With "Freddy Got Fingered," MTV comic Tom Green may finally have ripped that envelope at its edges. And, as one both feared and expected, there's nothing beyond that fissure but a void, an airless vacuum where it is difficult to breathe and--it turns out--to laugh.
Green, who ate worms and put a live mouse in his mouth last year in "Road Trip," directed and co-wrote this, his first star vehicle, in the "tradition" of the Farrelly brothers' comedies about dimwitted losers making their way through muck and mire to achieve their impossible dreams.
His version of the archetype is one Gord Brady, a 28-year-old slacker who cracks himself up in his parents' basement over the his coherent cartoons of super-powered beavers and talking bananas. He decides to head to Los Angeles from his Portland, Ore., home to break into the animation business, leaving behind his sweet mom (Julie Hagerty) and his gruff dad (Rip Torn in his wiggiest, most avant-garde turn since he bit Norman Mailer in the latter's 1968 movie, "Maidstone").
To Dad's psychotic chagrin, Gord returns to the basement soon enough and goes back to being a slug, finding a kinky girlfriend (Marisa Coughlan) who's building rockets for her wheelchair. What she likes to do with Gord can't be repeated in detail here. Nor, for that matter, what Gord does with animals' private parts, babies' umbilical cords, intestines and rear ends. None of these things seem to have anything to do with the story and everything to do with Green's TV-honed persona as the man who'll gladly eat your mucus.
Which wouldn't be so bad, if Green were even mildly endearing. But much of his appeal is in being the guy who comes out of nowhere to trash respectable surroundings and leaves before wearing out his welcome. With him on screen for most of the movie, there's no escape from his in-your-face shtick--except to shut your eyes and will this misbegotten thing to closure. Even the movie finds itself asking when it'll end. Not soon enough.
Freddy Got Fingered, 2001. R, for crude sexual and bizarre humor, and for strong language. Regency Enterprises presents a New Regency/MBST production, released by 20th Century Fox. Director Tom Green. Producers Larry Brezner, Lauren Lloyd, Howard Lapides. Executive producer Arnon Milchan. Screenplay by Tom Green & Derek Harvie. Cinematographer Mark Irwin. Editor Jacqueline Cambas. Costume designer Glenne E. Campbell. Music Mike Simpson. Production designer Bob Ziembicki. Art director Katterina Keith-Szalay. Set decorator Shannon Murphy. Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes. Tom Green as Gord Brody. Rip Torn as Jim Brody. Marisa Coughlan as Betty. Julie Hagerty as Julie Brody.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun