At least it’s different. One of MTV’s favorite sick-boys has now (co-)written and directed his first feature film, starring himself, Tom Green. Now that he’s had the opportunity to express himself in the manner of his own choosing, is the result worth seeing?
It’s kind of…indescribable; though that’s not going to stop me from giving it a shot anyway. Now Green is not the Freddy of the title. That dubious honor goes to Eddie Kaye Thomas from “American Pie”. Freddy tries hard to be the good, obedient son to Jim (Rip Torn) and Julie (Julie Hagerty) Brody. Then again, it’s easy to look good next to his slacker older bro’ Gord (The Greenster). The demented Gordo still lives in his parents’ basement entertaining dreams of becoming an animator. This doesn’t sit so well with the boys’ hard-assed blue-collar dad, and the movie quickly becomes an escalating battle of wills between Jim and Gord while the latter tries to find the one concept for a hit show that he can sell to the head of an animation studio (Anthony Michæl Hall). For all the good it does him, Freddy tries to stay on the sidelines. That is, until he gets fingered.
Green has stated that he was trying to make a kind of parody of the whole gross-out comedy genre. He really just made a mess. Yeah, he jacks up the grossness and the pseudo-offensiveness to levels few films have previously approached with such highlights as Tom wearing a freshly-killed deerskin, licking a compound fracture, and providing some unwanted aid in a childbirth. The problem is that in place of anything that might tell the audience not to take it too seriously is a very dark, angry tone. What’s up Tom’s a*s? I’m sure if you asked, he’d show you. From this film I can only guess that he might have some issues with his own father, but in light of the torment heaped upon his endlessly patient parents on his TV show, I can’t imagine that his relationship with them is anywhere near as bad as depicted here. Rip Torn’s Jim isn’t played so much as a characature as a soul-destroying monster.
Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “maybe he just doesn’t get it.” Oh, believe me, if anyone gets it, I get it. I see “Jackass” as a John Waters TV show if the director happened to be a straight fratboy. Brian De Palma’s “Scarface” keeps getting funnier every time I see it. I even like Harmony Korine. If there were something to really get, I’d get it. I just don’t think Tom Green gets it. He seems to have been handed the opportunity to do whatever he wanted and screwed it up. There are several shots from the different trailers that are not in the movie, which means he was probably re-editing the film right up to the last minute in an attempt to save it. It didn’t work. That’s not to say that there aren’t funny bits here and there. I’m sure his friends find it friggin’ hilarious. Unfortunately, most of the movie-going public doesn’t quite know him that well and from this feature alone you only get the impression that he’s just a demented idiot, and not in a funny way, either. Next time Green should think about taking more help from experienced professionals. If I wanted to watch a muddled, clunky, wannabe-clever comedy, I’d wait for the next Saturday Night Live atrocity to come out.