Darren Silverman (Jason Biggs) is a wimp. He meets Judith (Amanda Peet) at a bar and attempts to come onto her. Because she is also being propositioned by a fat, obnoxious man, she abruptly changes her mind and agrees to talk to Darren. A weeks later, Darren brings Judith over to meet his lifelong friends Wayne (Steve Zahn) and J.D. (Jack Black). His friends greet Judith by asking if she wants a beer bong, instantly rubbing Judith the wrong way. They proceed to dump nachos, beer and salsa all over Judith's revealing blouse. Judith soon makes Darren promise that Wayne and J.D. will never set foot near her again. Wayne and J.D. soon decide to 'save Darren". Their idea is to kidnap Judith and reintroduce Darren to Sandy (Amanda Detmer)… I just realized that I have already spent more time recounting the storyline than the screenwriters did in writing the actual screenplay.
"Saving Silverman", the new film from Dennis Dugan, the director of "Big Daddy" (Now that's some pedigree!), is a mishmash of ideas and gross out gags that is trying to cash in on such films as "American Pie", "Scary Movie" and others. For that reason, we see gags involving raccoons, high school football coaches, nuns, gay marriage, going to the bathroom in the front yard, psychology and more. The raccoon gag was the one thing that made me laugh. Unfortunately, they repeated it, an indication of how desperate the filmmakers really were.
"American Pie" worked because it had a story and some really funny jokes. "Scary Movie" worked because it included every joke they could possibly think of, some of which were very funny and gross. "Saving Silverman" doesn't work because the jokes are unfunny and we don't care about any of the characters.
Jason Biggs, the star of the film, plays the character so straight that he doesn't generate a single laugh. He walks through the film like a zombie, reacting to the other characters and their antics. Amanda Peet is so overbearing that we are unable to generate any empathy for her at all. By my count, each of these actors has appeared in exactly one film in which they were successful and earned praise. Each has subsequently appeared in one flop after another. What is wrong here? Either they have no talent and got lucky, or they need to pick their projects with more care. I suspect the latter is the case. Just because someone dangles a big paycheck in front of you doesn't mean that you should do the film.
Steve Zahn is usually pretty funny, but in "Silverman" he only becomes annoying. He is stupid and annoying. A deadly combination in a character that we are supposed to like. Jack Black, fresh from his success in "High Fidelity" plays the big slob, a character that we have seen many, many times before.
R. Lee Ermey and Neil Diamond have cameos. That's really all that can be said of either.
"Saving Silverman" also has a mean spirited story that leaves a bad taste. Characters frequently hit each other with chairs and other objects. This is a common staple of slapstick, but these characters really don't like each other and it only makes them appear mean to each other. Two characters knock a tooth out of their mouths before they realize they are really in love, smiling broadly, revealing the gap they have just created.
The dialogue is terrible, the characters act like stupid idiots, the story is laughable. Why would you pay for even a bargain matinee? I did and I regret it.