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Freddy Got Fingered

  freddy got fingered
Tom Green finds wonder in a phone antenna.

2001, Fox
All Rights Reserved

There's the reliable, compromised comedies that we all love (even me), and then there's "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." There's "Brain Candy." There's even "The Blues Brothers." The comedies driven by a singular vision. Directed or written by people not interested in what's expected, and who defy convention and bring a whole new meaning to the term "Punk Rock" filmmaking.

I won't even begin to suggest that "Freddy Got Fingered" (IMDb listing) is a brilliantly crafted film. Nor will I compare it to the great comedies that adorn the halls of the masters. Yet, without a doubt, Tom Green has brought forth something not like anything currently playing in movie theaters. It's tough to see beyond the screaming and shock value they bombard you with in the advertising, but underneath all the songs about sausage, the physically disabled girl who likes her legs beaten with a bamboo reed, and the elephant ejaculate, lies a sincere film about being in your mid-twenties and deathly afraid of real life. For better or worse, Green has made a film that boldly dares to be itself.

Green stars as Gord Brody, a 28-year-old slacker who dreams of being an animator, yet does nothing to achieve those fantasies. When Gord finally leaves his Oregon home for the bright lights of Los Angeles, his father Jim (Rip Torn) and mother Julie (Julie Hagerty) couldn't be more proud—and thrilled—that their boy is finally leaving home. After employment at a cheese sandwich factory and an unfavorable talent evaluation by an animation executive (Anthony Michael Hall), Gord gives up quickly and moves back home. Upset with his son's complete lack of ambition, Jim soon declares war on his offspring, berating him to get a job and making fun of his wheelchair-bound girlfriend (Marisa Coughlan). Gord, trying to find his way through life in his own "special" ways, decides to fight back and begins a series of episodes in which he tries to find employment and exact revenge on his allegedly molesting father.

Being no real fan of Tom Green's MTV escapades, I was in quite a bit of panic to find myself giggling so much at "Freddy Got Fingered." It's not so much that the film is a laugh riot—God only knows that a little Green goes a long way—but more that even though the picture traffics in gore and sick humor, it also has this odd ambition to deliver one of the more blunt portrayals of the twenty-something years I've seen in quite some time. Only writer/director Kevin Smith ("Clerks") has recently captured the anxiety and boredom of those days between the good life and real life as truthfully.

Green handles the line between giving his audience what they paid for and exorcising some his own parental relationship demons like a pro. An assured directorial debut for the madman, Green keeps the momentum going, and even has the nerve to address his own film's running time with a carefully planted, blink-and-you'll-miss-it sight gag. "Freddy Got Fingered" isn't the moronic snuff film I'm sure many of you out there have the notion that it is. It certainly is geared for a very specific audience, yet by no means should it be dismissed as garbage. It has much too much going on beyond all the insanity to be carelessly adjourned.

For those looking for that "Tom eats poo" rush of repulsion, "Freddy Got Fingered" doesn't disappoint. Green moves way beyond the kitten play he showcased on his TV show, this time bringing out the big guns with a bloody child birth scene and some flesh-wound licking. It's always nice to see things you've never seen in a film before, and I can safely say I've never seen an erect horse penis on film prior to this. Roll your eyes if you must, but this is Green's stock and trade, and if you really object to the rather refreshing dedication to his set pieces, than you probably haven't read this far anyway.

"Freddy Got Fingered" is all Tom Green. It's not principally about shocking or offending, this is just what Tom Green does. There's nothing more about it that I could say to possibly covey the moviegoing experience of this picture. For those willing to dive in, "Freddy" might surprise you with its genuine wit and depths of depravity. The rest of you that find the trailers and commercials appalling, say what you will, but Tom Green is no sellout.

Filmfodder Grade: A-

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