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In this spoof of "March of the Penguins," nature footage of penguins near the South Pole gets a soundtrack of human voices. Carl and Jimmy, best friends, walk 70 miles to the mating grounds where the female penguins wait. The huddled masses of females - especially Melissa and Vicki - talk about males, mating, and what might happen this year. Carl, Jimmy, and the other males make the long trek talking about food, fornication and flatulence. Until this year, Carl's sex life has been dismal, but he falls hard for Melissa. She seems to like him. A crisis develops when Jimmy comes upon something soft in the dark. Can friends forgive? Does parenthood await Carl and Melissa? Written by
No penguins were harmed during the making of this film. However, one of our editors, and we won't say which one, kept a human head in his mini-refrigerator the entire time he was editing this picture. See more »
Outrageously funny, but not nearly enough to make the movie last until the finale
For a documentary with no notoriety fueled by a very political filmmaker, March of the Penguins did very well for itself when it was released last year. It made quite a hefty bit of money, and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary. But for all the quiet moments not featuring the voice of Morgan Freeman (who can narrate my life story anytime he wants to), I think most people would be hard-pressed not to be imagining what the penguins are actually thinking. So it should be no surprise to anyone that Bob Saget, everyone's favourite '90s TV personality, took this idea and ran with it. And what resulted was Farce of the Penguins.
Saget takes the basic premise from March of the Emperor penguins arduous journey to procreate, and created a whole storyline and dialogue to go along with it. The film, narrated this time by Samuel L. Jackson, follows the story of Carl (Saget) and Jimmy (Lewis Black), two friends making the journey with all the other male penguins to find love and make a baby. Jimmy is content with life the way it is, but Carl is going through somewhat of a mid-life crisis. He wants to find a woman he can stay with, but cannot face the inherent contradiction involved in the life cycle of penguins and their mating rites. It frequently pans off to the wait the female penguins are doing, and how nervous Melissa (Christina Applegate) is over the prospect of having a baby with someone she barely knows. Her friend Vicky (Mo'Nique) tries to console her, and attempts to stick by her side during the long wait.
It does not sound incredibly complicated, and in the end, it really is pretty straight-forward. Through digital manipulation and stock footage of various penguins (and all sorts of other wacky animals too), Saget has helped create something wildly irrelevant, but downright hilarious in many instances. Yes, it is incredibly vulgar, and yes, it is even more so ridiculously silly than anything. But does that make the movie any less fun? Slightly, but not by a whole lot. Granted you can take the stupid humour Saget is pitching, than you should be able to find quite a few moments of laughter throughout the proceedings. It gets a little repetitive in certain instances, but there are some really terrifically funny moments sprinkled throughout its way-too-short runtime to help make up for this.
The main voice talent is not amazing, but they get the job done. Saget and Black feed off of each other nicely for the majority of the film, playing jokes off of each other fast and furiously. At certain points however, they really do not seem like they work as well chemically as they did only minutes before. It makes for plenty of awkward transitions, and really unbalances the film. On the other hand, Applegate and Mo'Nique just sound terribly bored. They make a few funny jokes here and there, but sound stiff when they any sort of lengthy conversations. No one was holding them at gunpoint, so I do not understand why they could not have put at least a bit more enthusiasm into their voices.
What actually makes for most of the funny material in the film are the wildly outrageous cameo voices. There are far too many to name off, but making an attempt at trying to figure out whose voice belongs to who is a challenging activity all in itself. Once the end credits come up, you just may be a bit surprised at just who turns up (such as the pseudo Full House reunion). The movie parodies and random musical numbers featuring Saget belting out some pretty heart-warming tunes, is also pretty enjoyable. And of course, Jackson's brilliant narration is simply hysterical.
Unfortunately for this film, the main problem with the film is that it does not have enough steam to make it from beginning to end. Towards the opening, the whole digital manipulation and vulgar jokes are alright, and are pretty enjoyable to watch. But by the end, it just becomes an eyesore. I realize that the joke(s) can only go so far, but Saget had to anticipate this fact, and should have done more to try and resolve it. As a whole, it just feels way too weak to work as a full-length movie, and easily explains why the film is going straight-to-video this January. It could have easily done with a good polish, and a little bit more going for it. By the end, we are just waiting for the film to finish so we can turn it off, and that is not a good thing at all.
I do contest that I laughed pretty hard at more than a handful of scenes, and I would be lying if I did not say that I did enjoy Farce of the Penguins. It is not for everyone, and easily may be written off as being far too stupid to watch, but it definitely is worthwhile. If for anything, as a companion piece to March, just so more people have creative ideas as to what these penguins are thinking.
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