Saving Silverman
Saving Silverman

USA, 2001. Rated PG-13. 92 minutes.

Cast: Jason Biggs, Steve Zahn, Jack Black, Amanda Peet, Amanda Detmer, R. Lee Ermey, Neil Diamond
Writers: Hank Nelken & Greg DePaul
Music: Mike Simpson; additional music by Bruno Coon
Cinematographer: Arthur Albert
Director: Dennis Dugan


Grade: D- Review by Claudia Smurthwaite

Please, let me save you from Saving Silverman!

The laughs are few and the stupidity of the script is large. I'm sure there are guys who hate their buddy's girlfriend, but it's so out of the realm of common sense to believe that they would go to the lengths that these characters do to save their buddy from the girlfriend from hell. I know it's a movie, suspend your disbelief already...but are there really people as dumb as this in the world?

Jason Biggs, the lovable loser Jim in American Pie (1999), plays the titular character, once again a lovable loser. But where Jim had promise, Darren Silverman seems stuck on a dead-end road, calling bingo at the old folks' home and performing Neil Diamond covers with his lifelong friends Wayne (Steve Zahn) and J.D. (Jack Black). The three have been inseparable since grammar school and seem destined to stay that way, until they happen upon the beautiful Judith–don't call me Judy–(Amanda Peet) in a bar after one of their gigs. (OK, "gig" may be a strong word for Diamonds in the Rough's street performance.) Peet, Black, and ZahnWayne sets up Darren, telling him that Judith is dying to meet him; he approaches her and is rapidly shot down until a bigger loser hits on her, and she tells him that Darren is her boyfriend.

And so the fun begins. Why does Darren think he's in love with Judith? Well, because she told him he was. Is she in love with him? If a puppet master loves her puppet, then heck yeah! When Darren announces his engagement to the devil woman, Wayne and J.D. concoct a plan to kidnap Judith and hook Darren up with his long-lost high school love, Sandy, a novice nun a week away from taking her final vows. What follows is painful physical comedy, complete with tranquilizer darts, knees to the nuts, and electric shocks applied to various body parts. Oh, and a little nun humor, too. What's not to love about a Mother Superior who can bench press her own weight or a cursing sister? Now that's comedy!

As Silverman's buddies, two of the best supporting actors in the business, Steve Zahn (Out of Sight, That Thing You Do) and Jack Black (High Fidelity, Jesus' Son), are wasted. In previous roles, they've often stolen their respective films. I think they'd like to give Saving Silverman back. We get an inkling that if these two had a smarter script, they could be quite funny together. But they can't do anything with this material. Peet's Judith is nothing but a bitch with no redeeming qualities. Aside from the frequent display of her ample assets in some seriously plunging necklines, you really have to wonder what Darren sees in his controlling and manipulative girlfriend.

The running Neil Diamond gags are moderately funny, if only in a "Name that Tune" kinda way (song lines and titles are sprinkled throughout the dialogue). Diamond himself is either game or crazy in showing up for the last-ditch effort to save Silverman. Honestly, if you're looking for a good movie, you'd be far better off Finding Forrester than Saving Silverman.

Review © February 2001 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
Images © 2000 by Columbia TriStar Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

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