Saving Silverman

on February 09, 2001 by Wade Major
   A promising premise gets no help from its writers or director in "Saving Silverman," an unbearably unfunny bomb that survives in fits and starts only on the strength of a superior cast. And that naturally begs the question as to how and why so many talented performers were attracted to such rancid material in the first place.

   The basic idea is appealing: A trio of childhood buddies is about to be broken up when one of them (Jason Biggs) becomes engaged to the wrong woman (Amanda Peet), inciting the other two (Steve Zahn and Jack Black) to pursue diabolically extreme measures to foil the nuptials. In executing the idea, however, screenwriters Greg DePaul and Hank Nelken seem far more interested in stretching the boundaries of good taste and common sense than actually constructing a cogent narrative. Efforts to outdo the extremes of "There's Something About Mary" push the film into areas so juvenile that it becomes neither shocking nor funny. Whatever suggestion of character or plot occasionally creeps in is instantly subjugated to a tiresome array of bad taste gags.

   Director Dennis Dugan is, of course, no stranger to extreme bad taste, having made his feature debut back in 1990 with the horrific "Problem Child" before segueing to more respectable material with the 1996 Adam Sandler vehicle "Happy Gilmore." "Saving Silverman," unfortunately, is a gigantic step backward, for Dugan as well as his cast.

   Watching such talented comic performers as Zahn, Black and Peet fight for laughs that usually come naturally is no easy task. And while there's no question that the film is better off for their involvement, it's obvious that they are not.    Starring Jason Biggs, Steve Zahn, Jack Black, Amanda Peet, R. Lee Ermey and Amanda Detmer. Directed by Dennis Dugan. Written by Greg DePaul & Hank Nelken. Produced by Neal H. Moritz. A Columbia release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and thematic material. Running time: 92 min.

Tags: ason Biggs, Steve Zahn, Jack Black, Amanda Peet, R. Lee Ermey, Amanda Detmer, Directed by Dennis Dugan, Written by Greg DePaul & Hank Nelken, Produced by Neal H. Moritz, A Columbia release, Comedy, juvenile, rancid, good taste, funny

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