Say It Isn't So

on March 23, 2001 by Michael Tunison
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   Just when it seemed gross-out comedies in the "American Pie" vein had reached the bottom-most depths of bad taste, along comes "Say It Isn't So" to lower the bar even further. Produced by the genre-reinventing Farrelly brothers ("There's Something About Mary"), this spectacularly indecent raunch-fest goes out of its way to offend virtually everyone with such inappropriate comic fodder as incest, neuromuscular illness, bestiality and the use of prosthetic limbs. None of this has any right to be funny, but the sick truth is that even the highest-minded viewers will find it hard not to laugh at least some of the time, albeit uncomfortably.

   Directed by Farrelly protégé J.B. Rogers in a sweetly ironic style much like the brothers' own, the twist-filled storyline follows a kind-hearted animal control officer named Gilly ("American Pie" veteran Chris Klein) whose desire for the beautiful if dangerously imprecise hair stylist Jo (Heather Graham) becomes a problem when it's revealed that Jo's trashy mother (Sally Field) and stroke-victim father ("There's Something About Mary's" Richard Jenkins) are his own long-lost natural parents as well. Mortified by the idea that her lover is also her brother, Jo runs off to a romantic rival with the distinct advantage of not being in her immediate family (Eddie Cibrian from TV's "Sunset Beach"), and Gilly faces a set of unique obstacles if he's going to win her back.

   Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallows' polished script draws its considerable energy from the fact that nearly every line of dialogue either sets up a taboo-shattering jolt or is otherwise placed in some absurd context, such as when the lovers play a key emotional exchange while Gilly's arm is buried elbow-deep in a certain part of a cow's anatomy. The gags are the lowest-aiming imaginable, often displaying the Farrellys' mean-spirited fixation with picking on the handicapped and unfortunate, but there's nothing crude about the comedy's skillful execution. Starring Heather Graham, Chris Klein, Sally Field, Richard Jenkins, Orlando Jones and Eddie Cibrian. Directed by J.B. Rogers. Written by Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow. Produced by Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly and Bradley Thomas. A Fox release. Comedy. Rated R for strong sexual content, crude humor and language. Running time: 95 min

Tags: Starring Heather Graham, Chris Klein, Sally Field, Richard Jenkins, Orlando Jones and Eddie Cibrian. Directed by J.B. Rogers. Written by Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow. Produced by Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Bradley Thomas, Fox, Comedy
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