THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Warning: There is no way to accurately explain my feelings about this movie without blowing most of its jokes. If you don't want to know what happens, do not read this review.

I love Tom Green. His former MTV show was a weekly must-see for me. I think he is one of the most daring and original comedians around. Like the late great Andy Kaufman, Green has a fearlessness that fuels his most ingenious bits. However, for the 91 minutes I spent watching his new movie Freddy Got Fingered, I hated Tom Green. With a passion. This is one of the most unpleasant movies I've had to bear witness to. In fact, watching it made me sad - sad to see talent wasted and sad to think that someone thought this was supposed to be funny.

There's not much of a plot: Green plays Gord, a wannabe animator who travels to California to make it in show business. He ends up working in a cheese sandwich factory instead. Unable to make ends meet, he moves back home with his abusive father (Rip Torn). Gord's inexplicable idiocy irritates his dad, which in turn makes the man even more abusive.

Aside from an almost nonexistent plot, there are three major reasons why the film is a total flop. I'll start with the least problematic and work my way up.

Got Milk? Tom Green does in one of the less offensive scenes from Freddy Got Fingered
1. Freddy Got Fingered is dumb. It's hilarious watching real people getting annoyed by Tom Green's antics. However, it is not funny to watch actors pretending to get annoyed. The comedian goes through his usual bag of tricks (making up weird little chants, mugging at the camera, sucking on a cow's udder) but it doesn't work because the reactions of the people are fake. In one of his most brilliant TV bits, Green obnoxiously called the numbers at a senior citizens' Bingo game. It was classic because the seniors got good and pissed. That's comedy. It's real. The reactions in this movie are pre-planned, which robs the jokes of their payoffs.

2. Freddy Got Fingered is gross. We've been enduring a series of grossout movies for several years now, but this one takes the cake. Just a few minutes into the picture, there is a graphic closeup of Green masturbating a horse (no special effect either - it's clearly real). Later on, he does the same thing to an elephant, leaving his father covered in elephant semen. In another scene, Gord finds a dead deer on the road. He guts it with a knife, then pulls the carcass over himself and starts dancing around. A general rule of grossout humor is this: it works when it is part of a story, but not when it is done for its own sake. For instance, Cameron Diaz can rub Ben Stiller's semen in her hair in There's Something About Mary and we laugh because we have come to know and care about those characters. Why does Gord like to masturbate animals? No apparent reason. It happens purely for shock value.

3. Freddy Got Fingered is mean-spirited. This is the most unforgivable sin of all. The movie is full of hatred. Gord meets a young nurse named Betty (Marisa Coughlin). She gets aroused by having men beat her paralyzed legs with a bamboo rod. She also repeatedly begs Gord to let her perform oral sex on him. In another scene, Gord is in a hospital when a pregnant woman starts having her baby. Gord physically rips the baby from the frightened woman's womb. He cuts the umbilical cord with his teeth, then swings the baby around over his head, splattering blood on everyone in the room. (This movie has a nasty streak toward women, the likes of which I have seldom seen in a major studio release.) There is a running gag about a small child who repeatedly gets injured; the film's last scene finds the boy walking into a rotating airplane propeller, again splattering blood on hapless bystanders. Even the title is offensive: it refers to a scene in which Gord accuses his father of molesting his little brother via digital penetration. For me, this was the last straw. Child sexual abuse is not a laughing matter. There's absolutely no reason to have this kind of content in the movie. Watching all this stuff made me uncomfortable. What was the MPAA thinking when they awarded the film an "R" rating?

The more I think about this horrible movie, the more I hate it. I don't expect to see a worse movie this year. Green and co-writer Derek Harvie should be ashamed of themselves for producing something as vile, cruel, and morally offensive as this. Freddy Got Fingered is a special kind of awful: the kind that is potentially career-ending.

(1/2 out of four)

Freddy Got Fingered is rated R for crude, sexual and bizarre humor and strong language. The running time is 1 hour and 31 minutes.
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