Say It Isn't So

2001, Movie, R, 93 mins


An attempt to duplicate the mix of romance and raunch that made the Farrelly brothers' THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY a breakout hit, this comedy gets the gross-out gags right but fails to reproduce MARY's underlying tenderness. Kind-hearted orphan Gilly Noble (Chris Klein) works at the Shelbyville, Idaho, animal shelter and dreams of true love. He thinks he's found it in hair stylist Jo Wingfield (Heather Graham), newly returned from an extended stay in Beaver, Ore. Though her parents, Valdine and Walter (Sally Field, Richard Jenkins), are white-trash horrors, Jo is beautiful, kind, sexy and soulful. Granted, she's a menace with scissors: Her customers look as though they've been attacked with a weed-whacker. But otherwise, she's perfect... until the PI Gilly hired to find his family delivers some shocking news. Gilly is the child Valdine gave up for adoption many years earlier, which means that Jo is his sister. Horrified and heartbroken, Jo returns to Beaver and her ex-boyfriend, the rich, handsome and generally too-good-to-be-true Jack (Eddie Cibrian). Gilly remains in Shelbyville, enduring cruel taunts and trying to forget the love he's lost. Then Valdine's real long-lost son, Leon (Jack Plotnick), turns up: Can Gilly convince Jo that they're not really related in time to stop her imminent marriage to Jack? Director J.B. Rogers got his start scripting movies for T&A master Jim Wynorski, and later, as an assistant director, assiduously absorbed the wisdom of the brothers Farrelly and Weitz (AMERICAN PIE), masters of the art of appealing to the doody- and booby-obsessed. Rogers's film is vigorously tasteless, crammed with gags about cripples, nipples and getting your arm stuck up a cow's backside. But it's not the least bit charming. Maybe the trouble is that Graham lacks Cameron Diaz's goofy sweetness, which softened MARY's most flagrantly vulgar antics. Or maybe gross-out romantic comedy is a shallow well, and it was simply Rogers's misfortune to find himself with a bucket full of sludge. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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