Comfortable and Furious

Saving Silverman (2001)

Holy fucking shit, why is this film such a guilty pleasure? Despite hating it before, during, and immediately after its theatrical release, I have grown to embrace – even love – this pathetic cinematic drivel in the time since. From start to finish, it is antithetical to everything I love about the movies – great characters, narrative mastery, sizzling dialogue, directorial flair. Let it be said: there is NOTHING I should like about this film. Its laughs are cheap and obvious, its characters one-dimensional and hateful, its story contrived and predictable. Yet, after three or four (alright, I admit it, at least ten!) viewings on cable, I revert to the mind of a child, an unmistakable grin shines upon my face, and I settle in for the most mindless, yet joyful, ninety minutes of fun I can imagine. Why am I giggling? Why am I transfixed by the simplicity, the stupidity, the reprehensible slop and irredeemable foolishness? Should I be riddled with buckshot for loving it so? Of course!

Consider the cast: Jason Biggs, Steve Zahn, Jack Black, Amanda Peet, and Amanda Detmer. Consider the plot: Darren Silverman (Biggs) falls in love with Judith (Peet), while friends Wayne and J.D. (Zahn and Black) try to keep them apart. You see, they are wise to her controlling, bitchy nature and hope to rescue Silverman from a life of pussy-whipped humiliation. Of course, it helps that the two have a homoerotic obsession with their friend (none more than J.D., who practices self-yoga, loves Bette Midler, and admits his gay leanings late in the film). They plan to kidnap Judith, convince Darren that his girlfriend is dead, and steer him in the direction of an old flame (Sandy, played by Detmer) who is planning to enter a nunnery. Plans are foiled, a disturbed ex-gym teacher is brought on board for help (R. Lee Ermey, who is light years away from Full Metal Jacket [Ed note: Isn’t everything?]), a wedding is crashed, and all of it ends up at a Neil Diamond concert with the characters part of the stage show. Does it sound ridiculous? Pointless to an extent never before considered? Yes, and yes! By the mere fact that I am explaining a film so insipid should be evidence enough of my irrational devotion.

In fact, there has rarely been a mainstream film so delightfully obvious in its misogynistic leanings. The women, when they aren’t being reduced to their perky tits and firm asses, are portrayed as unholy shrews – conniving, self-absorbed, and bitter. They want nothing more than to have a man’s balls in their back pockets, reducing their prey to a shivering mass of feminized jelly. They want to control every aspect of his life, from the friends he keeps to the music he plays on the stereo. Silverman even submits to butt cheek implants for his master. One might root for him to cast off the witchy Judith and marry Sandy instead, but think of the options presented by the film: you can either have the strong-willed monster with a great body who would be great in the sack, or you can have the bubble-headed twit with a great body who would also be great in the sack. Is that all there is? Well, maybe. Still, if Hollywood has even a fraction of the influence they’d like to believe they have, it is no wonder that women are entirely absent from our cultural landscape, unless of course they are naked in bed, naked in the shower, or naked in a car. They key is that they are naked.

Social criticism aside, I love this film in spite of the socially irresponsible messages it promotes. Hell, I love it because of them. When a film can be so blatant in its hatred of the fairer sex, and so juvenile in its approach towards relationships and sex, it must be on to something big. Or you can simply tip your cap for the inclusion of an unabashed Ermey taking a shit on the front lawn. Or a naked Zahn trying to suck his own dick. Or Neil Diamond making his Jazz Singer performance appear award-worthy. Or… Just watch Saving Silverman, hate yourself, and keep watching.

Ruthless Ratings:

  • Overall: 1 (10 in a world where guilt is non-existent)
  • Acting: 2 (apply the same logic as above)
  • Directing: 1 (ibid)
  • DVD Extras: Commentary (to ask why is to submit a question more challenging the nature and existence of God)
  • Re-watchability: There’s no denying it. 9

Fun Fact: The real life six-year age difference between Biggs and Peet is the same as between Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman.