Friday, May 22, 2015

Freddy Got Fingered (2001)

A truly inspired piece of surrealist humor, certainly one of the most original and genuinely funny comedies to come out of Hollywood in the past couple decades. The story, such as it is, involves Tom Green's efforts to become a successful animator and move out of his parents' house, but any plot is just a pretense on which to build a series of outrageous, surreal visual gags -- such as Green scooping out and wearing a dead deer carcass, dressing in a backwards suit as "Backwards Man", showering in full SCUBA gear, and playing a piano with dozens of sausages attached to strings on his fingers -- that recall the works of Bunuel and Dali, or Buster Keaton (to whom Green pays homage with a reference to STEAMBOAT BILL JR. late in the film). Green is fearless in his use of extreme, gross-out humor, and remains committed to the material, never breaking character or winking at the audience to re-assure them that it's just a joke. It is on this strength that the film succeeds so well.

Special mention should be made of Rip Torn as Green's long-suffering father, an inspired bit of casting. Julie Hagerty, Harland Williams, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Anthony Michael Hall are all effective in supporting parts. It's fortunate that Green was able to get studio financing for this project while having full creative control by co-writing and directing as well as starring in it. It's hard to imagine it being made today, but he certainly made the most of all the resources at his disposal and created something truly original and funny. It's not for all tastes, to be sure, but it's a welcome change of pace for anyone bored with run-of-the-mill, uninspired Hollywood comedies.

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