Saving Silverman Review

Jun 22, 2001 | 5:07pm EDT

Darren (Jason Biggs) Wayne (Steve Zahn) and J.D. (Jack Black) grow up as best friends spending their days spraying beer and playing in their Neil Diamond cover band Diamonds in the Rough. Darren thinks he’ll never meet another girl like high school crush Sandy (Amanda Detmer) until he gets swept off his feet by the beautiful but controlling Judith (Amanda Peet). When she keeps him away from his buddies J.D. and Wayne do their best to break them up. The first half starts off so promisingly (more footage of the “band” would have been helpful) until after the hilarious attempts at kidnapping Judith and setting Silverman up with Sandy before she takes her final vows to be a nun (yes you read right). Then it meanders dwindles … and begins its rapid slide downhill.

There’s not much you can do than shake your head and think “what a waste.” Biggs is the straight man whose best scenes are pre-Judith. Black so hysterically cutting in “High Fidelity ” and Zahn so hysterical in well almost everything are a well-matched pair but really deserve better material to work with. Detmer (“Final Destination”) had a more colorful role in last year’s terrible Freddie Prinze Jr. film “Boys and Girls” (also starring Biggs); here she just smiles sweetly or looks perplexed (going out to lunch in her nun’s habit elicits very little laughs). And Peet with her steely eyes and sharp facial structure is well-cast as the ice queen. Neil Diamond makes a cameo but couldn’t he perform a more recognizable tune than “Holly Holy”?

“Saving Silverman” would’ve been better served by staying in the clever lane instead of veering into the gross-out bits it ultimately turns to. Dennis Dugan veteran of ushering “Saturday Night Live” alumni Adam Sandler and Chris Farley to film careers depends too much on his actors to carry the laughs into the next scene. But while Sandler and Farley could just dumb-schtick their way through Zahn and Black demand a (slightly) higher intellect. As a result edits are awkward and the audience is left drumming their fingers going “What’s next?”

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