Volume 94, Issue 99
Wednesday, March 28, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Incest comedy not so funny
Gazette File Photo
"WHY THAT'S THE BEST HAIRCUT I'VE EVER RECEIVED." Chris Klein sucks up, for obvious reasons, to Heather Graham in a scene from Say It Isn't So
Say It Isn't So
Starring: Heather Graham, Chris Klein, Sally Field, Orlando Jones.
Directed By: J.B. Rogers
By Stephen Pizzale
From the makers of There's Something About Mary comes Say It Isn't So, a film with all the right ingredients for a hilarious story, but one that is prevented from delivering due to its poor writing.
Chris Klein and Heather Graham offer up typical stock characters, this time as hapless dog catcher Gill Noble (Klein) and ditzy hair dresser Jo Wingfield (Graham). The plot centres on Gill's love for Jo, an affair which ends when he discovers she is his sister.
After Jo moves away, Gill finds out that Jo's mom, Velma (Sally Field), made the whole story up. Heartbroken, he heads West to find her, but when he does, he discovers she has a new man.
Along the way, Gill must endure the public humiliation of having allegedly slept with his sister. Desperate, he enlists the help of legless pilot Dig McCaffrey (Orlando Jones) in a scheme to win back Jo's heart.
Although poor acting is generally expected in this type of film, a lack of humour is not. There are plenty of opportunities for hilarity, but sadly, the writers elected to focus mainly on the public humiliation of Gill.
Granted, this is funny, but it's overdone and viewers wind up feeling sorry for him. Pity is never a good emotion to be feeling in a comedy and in this case, far more time is spent cringing over what poor Gill has to go through, as opposed to laughing.
Say It Isn't So has one redeeming quality: It isn't as predictable as movies of this type tend to be. Director J.B. Rogers manages to find several novel ways of embarrassing Klein's character, such as parading him through town with his hand stuck up a cow's rear and having disparaging remarks scrawled into the dust on his truck.
Aside from Field and Jones' characters, the other secondary roles are poorly written and serve essentially as glorified, moving backdrops. Their daily routine seems to consist entirely of making fun of Gill by repeating essentially the same lines over and over. Surely Rogers could have spiced things up by adding some variation to their taunts.
The villain in Say It Isn't So also deserves a better role. Eddie Cibrian plays Jack Mitchelson, a millionaire from out West who is planning to marry Jo. He controls the entire town and plays the part of the wealthy benefactor who can do no wrong.
Not given enough screen time to really make the audience hate him, Jack comes off as sleazy instead. The viewers aren't rooting for the bad guy to lose, just for the bad luck to stop for Gill.
Setting the film in Shelbyville, Indiana and Beaver, Oregon, Rogers does an exceptional job of capturing the small-town feel. Minute details and subtleties normally overlooked add a realistic touch. Examples of this include how the townsfolk are familiar and friendly with each other, and how quickly news of Noble's relationship with Jo spreads among them.
Although Say It Isn't So garners some laughs, it could have been much funnier. The performances were predictably mediocre, with the exceptions of Field and Jones.
All in all, the neccessary materials are here, but they are not capitalized upon, leaving this film a poor theatrical experience better suited to rental purposes.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000