One of the worst films ever (I only watched it once), but one of my best movie review writings…can anyone even find this film anymore?
Part of the appeal of Tom Green’s comedy is the comic situations brought on by his interactions with real people in real settings. Green makes those situations funny with improvisations and fanatical badgering that push the joke as far as possible. Green has said himself that he takes something stupid to the highest possible level.
Unfortunately, the 2001 movie Freddy Got Fingered distances Green from his audience because his comic personality can’t carry an entire movie especially when all the other elements are so weak. If you like his style of humor, Green’s character, a twenty something “loser” named Gord, will make you laugh a few times in this movie, but his quest to find pleasure out of pain with some disgusting, mind-boggling scenarios sinks the entertainment level of this work to a very low level.
Green’s comic style and bizarre personality stay intact as he takes total control by starring, directing, and writing this loud mess of a movie (if you watch closely in a scene at Freddy’s apt. (Gord’s brother), you can see a high school picture of Tom Green on a shelf). Green also performs much of his own stuntwork and probably felt obligated to add cameos from his love, Drew Barrymore and basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.
The supporting characters basically exist to give Green of forum for his comedy and sometimes side with the audience when reacting to Green’s antics. Gord’s dad (Rip Torn), yells at Gord telling him how disgusting he is. The head of an animation studio (an unrecognizable Anthony Michael Hall) tells Gord how his cartoons don’t make any sense and that they’re not funny. Gord even shows his disgust at his father’s antics that go far beyond the lines of good taste. These observations provide feelings to the audience, but it’s the one feeling that’s dangerous for an audience to have – feeling very uncomfortable, especially in several scenes with Gord and his dad.
A running gag where a neighborhood boy becomes victim to several unfortunate incidents has no logic or purpose. It’s puzzling how someone could find the least bit of enjoyment in this “joke” which is again an attempt by Green to find pleasure out of pain. None of the people associated with this movie assess the jokes or make sure the content will be something that the audience will enjoy. But isn’t that Green’s area? Maybe, but these people should still be ashamed of their moviemaking skills shown in the finished product. A decent story, the cornerstone of any entertaining movie, would’ve been a good place to start.
A cohesive story maybe harder to accomplish due to Green’s free style of humor, but any attempt or modification would’ve been better. Why not base some scenes that involve Green’s interactions with real people or at least make better transitions for Green’s little skits spotted among the tacked-on “make your dreams come true” storyline with his girlfriend (Marisa Coughlan) that’s played for laughs sometimes.
These improvisational modifications may be hard to achieve due to several crew members surrounding the subjects, but Green’s antics alone can make people forget about the camera and social conformity. Maybe some Candid Camera-like scenarios could’ve spiced up the story because the background characters in the movie are too manufactured to have any impact. The instant reactions and realism of the participants that strengthens Green’s comedy are painfully absent from this movie.
The most repelling joke involves Gord’s brother Freddy where a serious accusation and its results push the attempts at comedy too far (see the movie’s title). Sorry, not many people are going to laugh at that disgraceful display.
Green’s control of the movie seems to be total, which is why these jokes exist. So why aren’t the producers or studio executives managing their product? Where is the quality control? Green is allowed to make an unbelievably awkward setting change near the end of the movie which verifies that this waste of celluloid exists as an exercise for Green, and only Green.
In a scene near the end of the movie, a spectator actually holds up a sign that asks when the movie will be over. The movie hints at its own quality and the perceived tolerance level of its audience on purpose. When summarizing the quality and purpose of Freddy Got Fingered, the only conclusion this reviewer found was – Ha! Ha! Look at what we got away with!
Green can make you laugh with his obnoxious behavior, but only in small doses which was why his skit show on MTV was so successful. It’s the drawn out sequences and Green’s mental side that presents the most problems for a movie audience. His obsessions with animals and people getting hurt push the comedy farther than it should go. Green’s career should stay intact though, much to the dismay of people who don’t find his one-of-a-kind brand of humor appealing.
Many people may suggest that this movie puts the final nail in the coffin of the “gross out” comedy genre, but Green is in his own area of media which can’t even be classified as a genre and/or movie. Green is doing what he wants to do. All of his comic impulses are being exercised. Where other comedians hold back, Green freely expresses whatever is in his head. Don’t take this freedom of expression as a judgment of Green himself because he’s purposely making every situation extreme.
The often gory, over-the-top scenes definitely tip the scales of an audience’s tolerance, even though the scenes are relatively short. This one hour and thirty two minute movie is not recommended by this reviewer. It’s incredible that Freddy Got Fingered got away with only an R rating. There are a few laughs and plenty of Tom Green if that’s enough to entertain you, but this reviewer has higher standards.
Unlike the other “gross out” comedies that began credibly with There’s Something About Mary, Freddie Got Fingered should be viewed as an exclusive comic exercise by Tom Green that peeked enough interest to be documented on celluloid, nothing more. You just paid $8 to see the most inane movie in recent history – the joke’s on you!
© Michael Siebenaler