Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic (0/10)
by Tony Medley
“Chutzpah: Utter nerve,
effrontery.” That’s this. Sarah Silverman is a standup wannabe. Problem
is, she’s not funny. Oh, she thinks she’s funny. Director Liam Lynch
thinks she’s funny. Producers Heide Herzon, Mark Williams and Randy Sosin
think she’s funny. But they are voices laughing in the wilderness. Poor
taste is no substitute for talent.
Maybe, just maybe, Sarah
realizes she’s not funny. Because her shtick is scatological,
sacrilegious, and demeaning to things and ideas of value. She apparently
views herself as descended in a line from Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor.
Bruce went to jail in order to preserve the right to use foul language and
four letter words onstage. Pryor used them and didn’t have to go to jail.
He went straight to the bank. But there is a big difference between Bruce
and Pryor, on the one hand, and Silverman on the other. Bruce and Pryor
were funny. They really didn’t have to use foul language to make people
laugh. To their discredit, they used foul language anyway. Why talented
people want to stand for poor taste, low class and debasement of a
beautiful language is beyond me.
Silverman, since she isn’t
funny, uses her scatological and profane language as shock value, hoping
people will laugh instead of run. In the film it sounded to me as if they
had to insert a laugh track even though she was performing in front of a
live audience, albeit captive.
The film starts out with a
pedestrian scene in which Silverman is sitting with her sister and
brother-in-law. They both reveal enormous success. Then it comes
Silverman’s time to show and tell, so she says she’s got a big show that
evening. She doesn’t, however, so she leaves. Somehow between that scene
and the next, she has set it all up, with an auditorium, a big audience,
no less, and costumes. Suddenly it’s that night and she’s onstage doing
her show. The setup and the acting in this scene are sophomoric.
Then the real torture starts.
We have to sit through her monologue. It is very long and singularly
without humor. Debasing everything many people value is not funny.
As if what went before weren’t
bad enough, Silverman closes her standup show with a sacrilegious rending
of “Amazing Grace.” She has a nice singing voice, but the body language
she uses during the song is disgraceful.
When I went into this movie I
was thinking how nice that it was only 70 minutes long and anticipated it
passing quickly. But I squirmed and looked at my watch more often than I
do in movies twice as long.
This production appeals to
basest of instincts and is as crass as it could possibly be. Perhaps
critics and audiences who say they like it have been raised on a steady
diet of such political correctness that they see this rubbish as some sort
of equalizing tour de force. Then, again, maybe they embrace it out of
fear of not being in the mainstream of those who criticize everything that
is good, uplifting, and moral. Regardless, there is no justifiable reason
for producing such sleaze.
The language and the subject
matter are disgusting. An effrontery to human decency, this is a film that
is in such poor taste that it’s almost impossible to endure. I’ve seen
worse movies, but not many. The next time I see the name “Sarah
Silverman,” I’ll run the other way.
November 9, 2005