|Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic
Comedy is such a subjective thing – a deeply personal matter. Each man and woman has a unique
approach to what is funny. I may find something hilarious which you may not. I do know what I enjoy,
though. For cineastes, there’s an ongoing debate over the merits of Chaplin versus Keaton. (I’m in the
camp of the former, maybe because some of my earliest movie memories revolve around watching shorts
of the Tramp.) Sophisticated screwball comedies that rely on wordplay also tickle my funny bone – I
can watch movies like MY MAN GODFREY or HIS GIRL FRIDAY or LIBELED LADY or
a rerun of I LOVE LUCY endlessly and each time laugh out loud. I also know what I don’t find funny,
and that includes The Three Stooges, most of Mel Brooks’ oeuvre, and purported sitcoms like
SEINFELD, SEX AND THE CITY and WILL & GRACE.
Why am I carrying on this way? Well, I have to say that having to sit through SARAH
SILVERMAN: JESUS IS MAGIC was akin to a root canal for me. Ms. Silverman has been an
amusing screen presence in supporting roles in films like SCHOOL OF ROCK and RENT, but as
a standup comic, I don’t see the humor. Her choice of topics and delivery may be a small part of it.
Addressing issues like HIV disease (“When God gives you AIDS, and he will give you AIDS, make
lemon AIDS”), the tragedy of September 11, 2001 (American Airlines should adopt the slogan “First
Through the Towers”), sexual assault (“I was raped by a doctor, which is a bittersweet experience for
a Jewish girl”), and racial epithets, Silverman foists her brand of humor on the audience, and has earned
comparisons with Lenny Bruce.
Granted those in attendance on the nights when this movie was shot found her hilarious, and there
were a few people at the screening I attended who also guffawed. But I just did not find any of her act
funny – maybe because she constantly had to remind the audience that these are “jokes.” First-time
director Liam Lynch attempts to enliven the proceedings by including segments of Silverman singing
tasteless musical numbers, such as serenading residents of a home for the aged with the ditty “You’re
Going to Die Soon.”
If you find the idea of that set piece hilarious then this film is for you. Me? I’d rather go to the
dentist for a root canal without Novocaine.
MPAA Rating: NONE
Running time: 72 mins.
Viewed at Magno Review One.
|© 2005 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.