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Comedy is perhaps the most subjective of all forms of entertainment. Judy
Carter, in her wonderfully insightful "Stand-Up Comedy: The Book", summed
it up best: "Some people will laugh at a guy slipping on a banana peel.
Some people will only laugh at Hitler slipping on a banana peel." What
kills with one crowd will die with the next, and no two people will laugh at
the same thing for the same reason. Comedy, in many ways, says more about
the laughers than the comedians themselves, and it is no wonder that comedy
shop talk is filled with violent images ("If I don't bomb, I'm gonna murder
that audience"). Comedy, to put it mildly, is DANGEROUS.
"Freddy Got Fingered", Tom Green's scabrous black comedy, illustrates this principle to a T. Since his earliest days on Canadian cable-access television, Green has based his career on pushing the envelope. Like Andy Kaufman, his bizarre stunts (many involving animal carcasses and the sexual humiliation of his parents) are primarily about the reaction of both their hapless victims and US, the audience; if you don't step back and consider how you're taking this humor, and why, you're not really getting the whole Green experience. "Freddy" carries this sensibility into a fictional format, giving us the strange tale of a man who lives his life as an experiment in riling people up.
Gord Brody (Green) is a young aspiring cartoonist who fails miserably in his attempt to break into the Hollywood big time. He is forced to move back home with his parents, setting off a titanic battle of wills with his stentorian oaf of a father (Rip Torn), an escalating conflict that involves accusations of child molestation, sausages on strings, elephant penises, horse penises, Green's penis, and really badly made cheese sandwiches.
Of course, all of this story nonsense is just that: nonsense. It serves no function but to provide Green and co-writer Derek Harvie with a framework for grotesque, deliberately shocking set pieces, many of which work surprisingly well. There's a brief sojourn at a stud farm, where Gord lives out an apparently lifelong fantasy, wagging a horse's genitals while yelling "I'm a farmer!" like a drunken barbarian. In another scene, Gord delivers a baby, ripping the bloody umbilical cord with his teeth. He picks up a wheelchair-bound girlfriend (Marisa Coughlin) who gets her jollies by being caned in the legs with a bamboo stick. And there's the wonderful little boy who spends the whole movie getting accidentally brutalized, hit by cars and running into airplane propellers, always with much blood and flying viscera.
Now I know this may not sound that funny, and indeed, "Freddy" has gotten the most dastardly reviews that I think I have ever seen for a major release. Critics don't just hate "Freddy"; they seem personally hurt by the film, as if Green had made the picture just to upset them and get their goat. What they don't seem willing to acknowledge is that Green made the film for EXACTLY that reason, and is getting exactly the reaction he wants. Therefore, his film can be regarded as something of a great success.
Personally, I agree with many of the critics who have described "Freddy" as surrealist. There is no attempt to integrate this action into anything resembling the real world. Gord is not a human being, but rather a collection of characteristics. Green plays him as a bizarrely aggressive man-child, a mishmash of helplessly repeated words and phrases, slack-jawed willful stupidity, and screaming, utterly pointless hysterics. Frankly, I admire this approach to the characterization. After seeing so many recent comedies ruined by the filmmakers' need to make their characters both laughable and likeable (most recently with the stultifying "Joe Dirt"), it is refreshing to see Green so willing to come off as annoying, hateful, cruel, UNLIKEABLE. This lack of relatability allows us to laugh at him without feeling like we're also laughing at ourselves.
I am not making the claim, as some on this page have, that "Freddy Got Fingered" is any kind of masterpiece. Green's direction is not the equal of his acting bravery. The film suffers from too many muddy visuals, and many moments just lie there on the screen, wriggling when they should fly. Still, the film does what it is supposed to. Half the time you're laughing, the other half just staring at the screen in goggle-eyed shock. You may hate "Freddy", you may love it, but either way, you have to admit that you've never seen anything like it before.
This movie, although not solid in plot, is that of comical genius. People are too easily offended by the actions of Tom Green, not able to see the comical genius this movie has. Breaking barriers is comedy, and that is exactly what Tom Green does in this film. The things he does, from jerking off a horse, to pretending to be a deep sea diver are all great ways to get the point across, this movie is something different. People who have any sense of moral value or a tendency to vomit should stay away, but who has moral values anymore? In the end this movie is nothing more then an inspired way of making me laugh. The movie is funny enough as it is sober, I however would suggest you see it stoned or drunk off your ass.
I'll bet that the majority of people who express their hatred this film
on the grounds that it is too vulgar had a jolly time sitting through
movies like American Pie, Scary Movie, and all that deplorable garbage.
Those films and their vulgarities were incredibly labored and insincere creations designed to pander to hateful stereotypes and equally petty repressed fears and desires of feeble-minded perverts and uneducated teenagers. However, though Freddy Got Fingered contains equal vulgarities, they exist not for their own sake but to serve a greater, dadaistic post-modern vision. This is evident in the structure of the film. Other "gross-out" comedies present their vulgarities with the sober convention, creating a pornographic aura that is shameful instead of funny. The lack of artistic direction in a sea of recycled inspiration never fails to create an uncomfortable confusion as to whether the vulgarities are serving the higher part of our minds that pertains to comedy or meant arouse a repressed sexual perversion (American Pie, for example).
Freddy Got Fingered separates itself from such worthless trash by breaking free from convention and re-appropriating it. Rather than cold and unflinching eye with which hacks such as the Wayans brothers present their vulgarities, Freddy Got Fingered uses innovative editing to de-familiarize the audience to whatever on screen, such as incorporating Sam Peckinpah's "pause-burst-pause" technique in the restaurant scene, or the revolutionary cut from the bleeding child (Tommy) to a closeup of roast beef at an all-American family dinner. It should be mentioned that while Freddy Got Fingered is discussed for it's vulgarities, it makes a point of balancing shock with classical comedic conventions: the majority of the gags in the film consist of non-sequiturs, slapstick, and satire (the main target being dramatic conventions in film, which is achieved through mixed-modalities rather than exploiting the ephemeral icons of pop-culture).
The film's brilliant re-invention of comic film-making technique creates an intellectual framework that invites an oppositional reading to some of the vulgar content on screen. Freddy got Fingered is not a simple presentation of vulgarities, but rather in dialogue with them. The running gag of a child being injured is clearly a parody of the increasing darkness of comedy, and yet it is simultaneously a manifesto, in Tom Green's post-structuralist shattering of our perceptions of taste. It is this self-reflexive nature of the film that transcends its vulgarity, while other "gross-out" films not only fail to do this, but often fall one step lower by depending on extra-textual sources (again, usual ephemeral pop-culture icons).
In conclusion, the equal magnitude of the vulgarities in relatively un-criticized movies such as American Pie and Scary Movie effectively invalidates the most critics' dismissal of the film on the grounds of excess vulgarity. The only difference between Freddy Got Fingered and its other "gross-out" counterparts is the film's original approach to film-making technique. However, I cannot imagine why this is more repugnant to them than the pornographic practice of using conventional film-making to enshrine vulgarities set before the camera (for example: even "Booty Call" has an orchestral score). Perhaps by being the first mainstream film to elevate the lucrative "gross-out" comedy beyond the reach of formulaic film-making, many perceive Freddy Got Fingered as a threat to the tradition, despite the fact that it has liberated conventional film-making techniques from being subjected to vulgar subject matter, saving both from demeaning each other. More likely is the possibility that the structure of Freddy Got Fingered is so foreign to film-goers weaned on convention that they cannot get themselves comfortable enough to laugh. If they are so accustomed to convention, then they are also desensitized to it, which explains why they cannot see its presence in other vulgar comedies, and hence their unsettling perversion. In any scenario, Freddy Got Fingered has failed to garner the praise it deserves because people just can't bring themselves to take this sophisticated social-commentary post-modern manifesto at anything but face value. And that is shameful.
Freddy Got Fingered may not be the "laughiest" picture of the year, but it
is surely the most original. It remindes me more of the challenging work of
Godard or Bunuel than of the slew of recent "gross out" comedies that stink
up our screens. Illogical and abusurd, ridiculous, funny, and disturbing, I
guarantee it is unlike any film you've ever seen.
I sat in the theater, amazed, as Gord Brody (Green) leaves home in a rush on his skateboard...to meet up with his parents at the bus depot. Why is he meeting them there, if they all live together? There at the depot, his dad presents him with a car. Why bother going to the depot if his dad's going to give him a car? Then, after clearly establishing that Gord is going to Hollywood to sell his "cartoons" and after a close up on his new license plate reveals their location to be Oregon...a superimposed map of the coast shows us (ala Raiders of the Lost Arc) Gord's path from Oregon to Hollywood.
Redundant? Of course. And hillarious. Green makes a mockery of tired film cliches and crap mise-en-scene. Then, ten minutes into the movie, it brilliantly deconstructs itself. Anthony Michael Hall (as cartoon mogul Dave Davidson) gripes that Gord's drawings aren't bad...but they just don't make sense, they're not funny, they're stupid, and entertainment needs to be inspirational. Oh does it?
Kudos, Mr. Green, for your uncompromising debut.
I know, I know I have commented on this film before. But I felt it was worth pointing something out for what its worth. To the people that criticize this film for not having a plot, being a rough patchwork of silly (and sometimes repulsive)scatological gags, let me just say that...
THE JOKE IS ON YOU!
Like the late great Andy Kauffman, Tom Green has consistently relied on his sometimes unsuspecting public for most of his larfs. As a matter of fact, that's why he cancelled his TV show. Too many people had begun to recognize him and he could no longer make them the butt of his jokes. But he had one last prank to play. And "Freddy Got Fingered" is it. Although it has some geniuinely funny scenes (especially the ones featuring Rip Torn) many scenes exist purely for their shock value. It is hard to sympathize with any of the characters in the film and it does get tedious. And this is precisely what Gteen had intended. "FGF" is Green's version of Kauffman's "Great Gatsby" bit. But for those of us who enjoy abstract humor, "FGF" is a godsend. The biggest joke is the fact that the film actually got made and somebody greenlighted this project. The film actually references this in the scene when Gordy presents his Zebra family idea to the producer. Just try to imagine Green pitching his idea to a bunch of suits who've probably never watched his TV show but know from their charts and graphs and statistics that the show is popular among young males. And imagine them forking over the check...
This is definitely one of the worst movies to ever have been filmed. It makes you wonder as to why Tom Greem isn't somewhere waiting tables. While he is sometimes funny on his own show, this movie offers nothing more than a disturbing spectacle of horror. There is no story, no plot, no intellectual signs of any kind, and surely there is no comedy, unless of course you find playing with a horse's privates is funny or skinning a deer and wearing its carcass is hilarious. The jokes are cruel, gruesom, and very sad. (1/10)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Freddy got Fingered is about a slacker cartoonist named Gord, Tom
Green, who finally moves out of his parents basement to work at
Hollywood in a cheese sandwich factory and try to sell off his cartoons
for them to become a TV show. But when a big time Hollywood producer,
Michael Anthony Hall, tells him he will never make it in life, Gord
moves back home with his sleazy father played by Rip Torn. Gord's life
is then turned into a big contests where he and his dad try to settle
an age old battle between whether Gord should suck up and become a man
or be a complete loser for the rest of his life.
Freddy Got Fingered, should have been named Animals Got Fingered. I'll admit that I'm not a big Tom Green fan but by the way the trailers for the film worked it looked life it would be an okay movie. I was wrong! Tom Green proves right here in this movie that he can not act or direct. This film losses effort on every film making level but it succeeds in being a master in every bad level of film making. This film is a complete waste of talent and time with animal masturbation and blow job jokes. Plus the title, what is with the title? Sure Gord says that his father fingered his younger brother Freddy but that subject is only in the film for eight minutes top! Now the main character Gord must be mentally retarded. In one of the most sickest scenes in the movie, Gord finds a dead deer in the middle of the road. He remembers the words of Mr. Davidson telling him he needs to get inside his cartoon animals so they can be more lively. But to Gord he thinks he should literally get inside the deer! He cuts the animals stomach open and rips out it's insides. Then we see cute little animals roaming the forests to the sweet melody of a female singer only to be interrupted with Gord running around, shrieking like a retard and wearing the deers bloody body as as a coat. I was about to blow chunks after I saw that scene. Maybe this movie might be funny to some of you people if you like Tom Green licking bloody wounds, playing with animals privates, or swinging a dead baby around a hospital by it's cord you may laugh till you die! But people like me will just be disgusted by this movie. I only chuckled a few times in this movie, like twice! Freddy Got Fingered gets the low 1, if I could though I would give it a zero. Tom Green, you sicken me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Freddy got fingered is a very rancid blend of the worst type of "jokes" around. One of the earlier scenes involves Tom Green w*nking off a horse and it's all down from there. This seems to have been made for the sole purpose of shocking people, at times it doesn't even try to be funny, it's more like it wants to put off and spit at anyone who's been foolish enough to spend their hard earned cash on it. I bet Tom Green is laughing all they way to the bank.
To put it short: this is a hideous abomination of a movie, which should have been instantly butchered at birth. The only reason that I don't give it a zero is because it's still not really as bad as "Naken" or "Route 666", but that's not really saying much is it?
To say that this film is bad would be an understatement. This film is
probably the worst film I've had the misfortune of watching. It is so
indescribably bad that no amount of criticism I could dish out could even
remotely come close to describing the true nature of this insipid piece of
Tom Green ,in my opinion, is probably the worst actor/comedian to ever appear in cinema. Heed my warning, avoid this turkey like the plague.
I love tom green. that is to say, i love his old show, the one that got
cancelled. after that, his humor got rather.. well, he fell off. he used to
be funny with a sort of witty background to everything he did. yes, he was
disgusting, but he wasnt just that. there was wit behind all of his actions,
and thats what made it funny.
this movie was awful. i remember that i laughed only a couple times. it seemed that tom had lost his wit at this time of his career, and stuck with the disgusting stuff instead. i fast-forwarded through parts of this movie, and i've never done that with any other rental. i just couldnt stand it.
as ebert said: tom is unable to promote his own movies anymore. and its kind of sad. he messed up. but, thats life in the spotlight.
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