Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic Movie Review

0
0
Subscribe To:
Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic is like sweet, feature-length revenge for the relatively small,l but almost assuredly scarred, minority of comics and actors who didn't quite make it on Saturday Night Live. Indeed, my first exposure to Silverman was as a teenage fan of SNL, weathering a mid-nineties bad patch; she was funny, with her gee-whiz energy and off-kilter delivery, but the show didn't know what to do with her, and she was off within a year.

She then opted to write her own ticket, returning to stand-up, making occasional film appearances, and honing Jesus is Magic, the one-woman mostly-stand-up show, now available as a feature film. The film version combines her standup act with a handful of cutaways to songs and skits. A few of her comic buddies make appearances, but as Silverman informs us during the opening number, the film is really about her, and only her.

This isn't entirely a good thing, but not for the reasons you might expect. The narcissism is the subtext of most stand-up comedy anyway, so it's not particularly off-putting, and besides, Silverman is very funny. Her specialty is a unique style of deadpan one-liner that combines old-school joke-telling (she doesn't tell stories or even riff on a single subject for an extended period) with new-school shock and irony (many of her jokes depend on her acting self-involved, racist, spoiled, etc.). I hesitate to quote too much of her material as examples, as nearly every review or magazine profile of her falls back on this tactic, giving away some of this film's best jokes, but here's one short, oft-repeated line: "I was raped by a doctor, which is bittersweet for a Jewish girl." Jesus is Magic contains at least two dozen more, equally disturbing and hilarious. Silverman's act is often described as deliberately offensive, but it's more a celebration of how silliness can be applied to potentially appalling subjects like AIDS, the Holocaust, 9/11, and so on.

So the problem isn't the film's all-Sarah approach, but that Silverman's style of comedy isn't particularly well-suited to the concert-film format. Her routines don't really build or develop; occasionally, she calls back to a previous line, but not with any real finesse or visible strategy. This is fine on its own - so many comics' observational anecdotes don't go anywhere new or fresh - but on film it's not unlike watching a rock-performance doc about a singles band; album tracks aren't there to tie everything together.

The skits and songs work, as far as they go, towards supplying a little connective tissue. They're directed by Liam Lynch with the same low-budget energy he brought to his cult MTV series Sifl and Olly. The bookending sequences, beginning with Silverman listening as two fellow actors (Brian Posehn and Laura Silverman) list their recent career breakthroughs as our star grits her teeth, strike particularly harsh and funny chords, and it differs from the one-liner rhythm that dominates much of the material between them.

There aren't enough of these moments; other cutaways, like a sing-songy ode to crude stereotypes, are short bursts of musical comedy where an escalating production number could've brought down the house. It's not that Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic fails its basic purpose, to amuse: I laughed throughout, and it would probably be among the best HBO comedy specials of the year. But a feature film presents the opportunity for something more freewheeling and creative than a succession of funny lines; Jesus is Magic dips in a few toes when it should be walking on water.

The DVD includes a commentary track from the director and Silverman, behind the scenes footage, and a video of "Give the Jew Girl Toys."

Fear my skull.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Starring :

0
0
Subscribe To:

Comments

Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic Rating

" OK "

Rating: NR, 2005

Advertisement

More Sarah Silverman

Here She Is, Your SNL Host, Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman, comedienne extraordinaire and author of The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee, hosted SNL last night and, in her words, it made...

Sarah Silverman Does Not Want To Get Engaged To Boyfriend Michael Sheen: "I Will Never Get Married"

Despite recent media reports, Sarah Silverman has no desire to become engaged to her Welsh actor boyfriend Michael Sheen, according to the comedienne, who adamantly...

Chris Pratt To Host Saturday Night Live Season Premiere

There is just no stopping Chris Pratt. Funny, attractive, and the kind of guy everyone wants as a best friend, he's gone from supporting cast...

Sarah Silverman Hopes To Return To 'Masters Of Sex' Next Season

Sarah Silverman will return to Masters of Sex next season, or so she hopes. Silverman attended the Primetime Emmy Awards 2014 on Monday evening (25th...

Advertisement

Lena Dunham, Bryan Cranston, Sarah Hyland: Best Pictures from the Emmys 2014

In an Emmy awards that most agree was a stone-cold classic, AMC's meth-drama 'Breaking Bad' was the big winner, taking home most of the night's...

Sarah Silverman Took Pot to the Emmys. Obviously [Pictures]

Sarah Silverman took pot to the Emmys. Yep, it happened. The comedienne headed down the red-carpet and stopped for a quick chat with E!'s Giuliana...

A Million Ways to Die in the West Movie Review

After the success of Ted, Seth MacFarlane gives himself his first leading-man role in this hilarious but overlong comedy-Western. The film is clearly a passion...

A Million Ways To Die In The West Trailer

Albert is a rather introverted sheep farmer who tries at all costs to avoid confrontation with the occasional gun-toting outlaw who may pass through the...

Advertisement