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FILM REVIEWHH

‘Fingered’: Same Green, Big Screen

Involving Multiple Animal “Encounters,” Tom Green’s Latest is Puerile, Yet Gets the Laughs

By Sandra Chung

Directed by Tom Green

Written by Tom Green and Derek Harvie

Starring Tom Green, Marisa Coughlan, Rip Torn, Julie Hagerty, Eddie Kaye Thomas

Rated R

His directorial debut is a work of magnificent beauty and depth. Poignant, memorable characters and sweeping cinematography grip the audience with ...

Oops, wrong movie.

Tom Green stars as Gordon Brody, a 28-year-old aspiring animator who assembles cheese sandwiches for a living. After a disruptive incident involving a large sausage leaves him unemployed, he trudges home to live with Mom (Julie Hagerty of Airplane fame) and Dad (Rip Torn, The Insider and Wonder Boys).

Gordy, unlike his successful younger brother Freddy (Eddie Kaye Thomas, American Pie), has trouble focusing and landing steady work. His extreme incompetence and bizarre social skills severely hinder his struggle to escape his father’s belittling judgements by finding the means to move out and live on his own. On the road to a steady job he lands and loses more lame jobs, molests several animals (five if you count the one in the outtakes), uses sausage and cheese in many creative or offensive ways, and alienates his family and girlfriend. Oddly enough he eventually does find financial success and peace with his father, though he spends a few uncomfortable months as a prisoner in Pakistan.

Actor Anthony Michael Hall (The Pirates of Silicon Valley, Sixteen Candles) is Davidson, the executive who wields the power to make or ignore Gordy’s cartoon show. Marisa Coughlin plays the obligatory love interest, a handicapped nurse who dabbles in rocket science and enjoys having her paralyzed legs beaten with a bamboo stick. Brief cameos from Shaquille O’Neal and Drew Barrymore add a little spice to the mix.

Because of the severely limiting material, none of the actors turn out remarkable or insightful performances. Gordy’s dad, Jim, randomly invokes various accents and regresses into wacky, violent antics.

This is not a movie that begs to be taken seriously, even though it manages to explore many general and complex aspects of the father-son conflict between Gordy and Jim. However, it also mocks that psychoanalysis with an outrageous scene in which Gordy sabotages a family therapy session by accusing Jim of molesting Freddy.

Green’s passable directing skills make ample but not overwhelming use of film clichÉs. Many of the clichÉ scenes are dubbed with crowd-pleasers from the tongue-in-cheek soundtrack (Moby’s “Natural Blues,” Eminem’s “Will The Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up,” and Joe Cocker’s “When A Man Loves A Woman,” to name a few). Fans of Green’s MTV show who expect to see some of their favorite set pieces will not be disappointed.

One wonders if the editor had much trouble doing his job, as every scene that isn’t a clichÉ looks like an outtake (and the outtakes show during the credits don’t look any different from the rest of the movie). Consequently the film never loses momentum; you can rest assured you will be either laughing, puking, or wanting to laugh or puke for the whole 90 minutes. Be sure to stay alert and catch all the visual gags, some of which, such as a bamboo stick reprise and a statement about the movie’s run, timeflash by so quickly you’ll miss them if you blink.

The R rating is mostly for crudity and sexual humor. The only nudity credits belong to Torn, whose character loses some inhibition after imbibing a generous quantity of Wild Turkey. Green’s irreverent sense of humor is definitely not for everyone.

I’ve heard about audience members walking out of the theater at various points in the film (though the only casualties I noticed during my viewing were two high school girls). One of the running gags consists of repeated, graphic close-ups of bloody injuries on the severely accident-prone child of a neighbor. Green pretends, among other things, to swing a baby around by its umbilical cord and lick blood off flesh wounds. At certain choice moments I was laughing so hard I could have sworn Gordy’s car changed color. But at times some of the laughter in the theater (including mine) sounded a little uncomfortable.

If you are willing to cough up eight bucks or more for an especially long dose of the Tom Green Show, this is your ticket. But if you’re easily horrified and hold many things sacred, don’t see this film, or at least don’t pay to see it.