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'Say It Isn't So'

There's nothing redeeming about 'Say It Isn't So'

Friday, March 23, 2001

By Barry Paris, Post-Gazette Movie Critic

"Incest in jest is hard to digest."-- attributed to Oedipus, possibly apocryphal

'Say It Isn't So'

RATING: R for strong sexual content, crude humor and language

STARRING: Chris Klein, Heather Graham, Orlando Jones, Sally Field


WEB SITE: www.sayitisntso



The Rex Man knew whereof he spoke, and "Say It Isn't So" provides corroboration. I thank the Lord that Oedipus never had to see it. Although, come to think of it, he wasn't seeing much of anything those days.

You, on the other hand, if you make the mistake of attending this film, will see Gilbert Noble (Chris Klein), a warm 'n' cuddly animal-shelter worker in Podunk, Ind., who has three warm 'n' cuddly missions: taking care of lost pets, locating his own lost birth mother, and meeting the proverbial girl of his dreams.

Heather Graham is dreamgirl Jo, with a few imperfections. She's an inept hairdresser who accidentally cuts off his ear. That fails to hinder their passion or wild sex, and pales in comparison with a second drawback: His birth mother turns out to be the same trailer-trash monster (Sally Field) that mothered Jo, which means, oy veh, Dreamgirl is his sister.

Instantly branded a sex pervert, Gil is run out of town and forsaken by Jo, who goes out to marry the rich guy (Eddie "Young & the Restless" Cibrian) preferred by her mom in Oregon. Orlando Jones, playing a double-amputee pilot who comes to Gil's aid, is the best -- no, the only -- good thing in the film, with an insanely manic performance as a legless dope-smoking survivalist.

Sally Field has the most embarrassing role of her career and is downright grotesque with her VPL (Visible Panty Lines) beneath the two-sizes-too-small spandex. Her sole consolation will be not having to worry about another "You really love me!" Oscar speech.

Field has no corner on the embarrassment market here. There's plenty to go around, especially for the backwoods Westerners uniformly portrayed as "Deliverance" dimwits. Sweet-faced Klein (of the far-better satire "Election"), a cross between Christian Slater and Disney juvenile star Tommy Kirk, gets his hand stuck in a cow's rectum, while Richard Jenkins, as Jo's foul-mouthed dad, gets all the shtick pertinent to an (intrinsically hilarious) stroke victim.

By all means, don't take Aunt Thelmah. The language alone will kill her.

First-time director J.B. Rogers is the hired hand for what they're calling "another comically depraved, shameless romantic farce" (I would add jejune to the adjectives) from producer-directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly, their previous shameless farces being "Dumb and Dumber," "Kingpin," "There's Something About Mary" and "Me, Myself & Irene."

They gross us out, and then want us to care!

If "Say It Isn't So" is a new sample, it's ample example that the novelty of Farrelly Brothers humor is wearing off and, like Riff in "Gee, Officer Krupke," is more comically deprived than depraved.

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