Tom Green’s gross-out comedy Freddie Got Fingered is a tedious exercise in shock comedy
After hanging back in the wings as teen-oriented comedies got progressively more perverse, Empty-Vee personality Tom Green finally makes the break from his lowbrow chat show in an attempt to assume the mantle of auteur of awful. Here he writes, directs and stars in Freddy Got Fingered, the latest in that rapidly spiraling trend of shock-omedies that bypass the traditional gags and go straight for the gag reflex.
The problem is, Green is no John Waters (the Baltimore Sultan of Shock who pioneered the genre) and has found himself becoming increasingly anemic in the shadow of the gross-out muscle flexing of young guns such as the Farrelly brothers.
Over the past few years, the success of such comedies as There’s Something About Mary, American Pie and their ilk have continuously raised the lowbrow bar to the degree that, by the time your average multi-plex mallrats catch the current glut of contenders such as Joe Dirt and Tomcats—and their respective money shots of characters being deluged in human excrement and the inadvertent consumption of a cancerous testicle—they’ll most likely find these films now lack the power to shock, let alone tickle the funny bone. Even the Farrelly brothers have become desperate as of late.
By this point, it is easy to become inured to such fare, and there is nothing about Green’s entry that breaks any new taboos in order to stand out in the collective psyche. It’s not for lack of trying on Green’s part, however. Cribbing a note on the theory that all comedy is based on pain, he takes more than a few whacks at it.
Green plays yet another variation on the man/boy cliché popular in contemporary comedy, a slacker wannabe cartoonist named Gord that we meet as he severs the knot and leaves the house of his long-suffering parents (Rip Torn and Julie Haggerty) and strikes out from Portland to seek his fortune as an animator in Los Angeles. It soon becomes obvious exactly what kind a strange trip we’re in for, when Gord arbitrarily pulls off to the side of the road to masturbate a horse. Why? No reason, he’s just drawn that way.
After reaching LA and a disastrous turn working at a cheese sandwich factory (hey, fame doesn’t happen overnight for these folks; sometimes it takes a day or two), Gord has a run-in with the power-lunching CEO of an animation factory who, after observing that Gord’s scrawlings of psychotic animals aren’t particularly funny, advises him to “get inside the animals,” which of course our coarse boy does—literally.
That pretty much sets the tone of this outing, as Gord returns home to torture his folks some more, pausing along the way to participate in a series of set-pieces that serve no other purpose than to raise the ante in the decency pissing contest. For your entertainment, Green proceeds to molest more animals, sever the umbilical cord of a newborn baby with his teeth, perform a form of fellatio on an open wound, don various foodstuffs and animal entrails as impromptu headgear—you get the point, or whatever serves as a point here, other than the slender thread of Gord’s escalating duel of wits with his father that serves as a narrative.
Aside from a slight few surrealistic throwaway gags, Green returns to that tired old well drained dry by the likes of Adam Sandler, the precocious naïf trapped in the body of a full-grown man, the stunted class clown/outsider who favors the gross-out gag as a tool of defense against authority. Sadly for Green, this type of stuff is no longer dangerous, just tedious.