By Ron Wells | February 9, 2001

This movie sure seemed like a good idea. Then they made it. This is the tale of Darren Silverman (Jason Biggs) and his two best friends for life, Wayne (Steve Zahn) and J.D. (Jack Black). Darren is obsessed with two things. One is Neil Diamond. All three boys love Neil so much that they’ve formed their own Neil Diamond cover band. The other obsession is Sandy (Amanda Detmer), a girl who moved away that just might have been Darren’s one true love. Still, the three friends, nearly ten years out of high school, are enjoying their lives together.
That is, until Judith (Amanda Peet) enters Darren’s life. The Hannibal Lecter of girlfriends, she quickly manipulates the guy into dropping every aspect of his world that fails to meet her approval, which includes his two best friends and Neil Diamond. When their marriage seems imminent, Wayne and J.D. become desperate to break up the pair and reunite their friend with Sandy, who is herself about to take her vows to become a nun. Sadly, as the two pals are complete idiots, they are little match for Judith. However, they’re fairly determined to save their best friend, even if they have to kidnap his fiancée to do it. R. Lee Ermey, circus freaks, butt implants, and a whole lot of Neil Diamond ensue.
It’s inevitable in the wake of the Farrelly brothers (“There’s Something About Mary”, “Dumb and Dumber”) that the Hollywood studios would try to knock out similar product that just doesn’t quite gel. Being outrageous is not the same as being funny. The pitch for this film is strong enough, but the final script could have probably used another half-dozen rewrites. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely seeing Neil Diamond’s triumphant return to the silver screen since the stunner that is “The Jazz Singer”, but with a pairing of Jack Black (“High Fidelity”) and Steve Zahn (“Safe Men”, “Out of Sight”) I expected a lot more. They could have been allowed to be a little smarter, while Amanda Peet could have been allowed to be a little warmer. The girlfriend from Hell she portrayed in the awful “Whipped” was a lot more appealing. The bitch in this film sucks all the joy out of the room from the moment you first see her. Poor Darren seems to get nothing in return for his love. It’s difficult to see how anyone could be attracted to her from the moment she opens her mouth. The rest of the film is as often funny as it is cringe-inducing leaving a really talented cast to trudge through a great deal of forced zaniness. Instead of “Saving Silverman” you might do yourself a favor and save a couple of hours and nine bucks.

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