Say It Isn’t So Review

Andy Hall has reviewed the Region 2 release of Say It Isn’t So. Probably the worst film from the Farrelly Brothers, this “incest” comedy is presented on a fairly average disc.

The Movie
For the last few years, if you had to put a name to the genre of “tasteless comedy” then it would be certainly be the Farrelly Brothers. Starting with such films as Dumb And Dumber and Kingpin, Bobby and Peter Farrelly have written and directed many of the more memorable entries into a movie niche that they practically now own. Probably their best film was There’s Something About Mary, and although an acquired taste, there was generally some funny moments to be had in all their recent movies. But with Say It Isn’t So, the Brothers have sat back and just produced the movie. Although they apparently took part in some uncredited script doctoring, their creative involvement here is relatively limited. The result is the worst film that they have put their names to.

This time the plot concerns Gilly Noble (Chris Klein), who was raised in an orphanage, never knowing his real parents. He works in an animal shelter in the small town of Shelbyville, Indiana, and dreams of finding his ideal woman. Thinking he’s found her in incompetent but beautiful hairdresser Jo (Heather Graham), her accidental mutilation of him brings them closer together, and within a short period of time they are in love and engaged to be married. This is much to the annoyance of her trailer-trash mother (Sally Field) who wanted her to stay with her rich ex-boyfriend Jack (Eddie Cibrian). Gilly’s perfect life comes crashing down though, when the two-bit private investigator he hired to find his real parents tells him that he has found them, and – guess what – they’re Jo’s parents. Understandably horrified that she nearly married her brother, Jo flees back to Oregon and to her ex Jack. Gilly becomes the pariah of Shelbyville, losing his job and having to put up with everyone treating him like scum for his incestuous behaviour. But when he learns that there is a chance that he just might not be related to Jo after all, he heads off to her impending wedding to win her back, with the help of hippie amputee Dig (Orlando Jones).

When you approach a film from the Farrelly Brothers then obviously tasteless comedy is what you should expect, as tasteless comedy is what you are going to get. Usually though, there’s a funny story to go around it, but here it feels like a lot of the tasteless humour has been put in purely for its own sake rather than to drive the story along, and it is also quite mean in nature. Prime examples are making Jo’s father a stroke victim and the character Dig an amputee, for no real reason of the story, but instead to get cheap laughs.

Chris Klein is disappointing in the lead role of Gilly, his acting limitations makes the viewer ultimately unsympathetic to his plight. Heather Graham is beginning to prove that Boogie Nights may have been a career high for her as well as Mark Wahlberg, though to be fair she doesn’t exactly have great material to work with here. It’s left instead to the supporting actors to be the only ones to come out of this with any credit. Sally Field proves that she has a talent for broad comedy; she just needs a better film than this to really show it off. And once again, like in Evolution, Orlando Jones finds himself a funny actor in an unfunny film.

Ultimately my main criticism of this movie is not its questionable themes; rather the biggest problem is that it is simply not that funny. Say It Isn’t So is in fact rather long-winded and fairly dull in places; perhaps if the Farrellys had taken complete control the end result would have been better. So unless you are a Farrelly Brothers completist, I’d give this one a miss.

The picture quality is competent rather than being anything special. The image is reasonably clear, but colours are a little restrained. There is a very brief moment of frame jumping at about the five-minute mark of the film, but this was probably an original print problem.

The sound quality is, however, pretty decent. Only a Dolby Digital 5.1 track is available, but it is very clear and there is plenty of directional use for all the channels. The frequently upbeat music soundtrack sounds very good indeed.

Video Extras
First up in the extras section is a commentary by director James B. Rogers and Chris Klein. Unfortunately there’s no sign of the Farrelly Brothers; instead we get two people who are over-enthusiastic about the movie they have made, with Rogers talking about the “great” script; and if you believe Chris Klein, this is one of the greatest films ever made. I think we’ll agree to differ on that one…

The ”making of” featurette runs for four minutes, and is mostly the usual promotional fluff. There’s a bit of behind the scenes material, too much of the plot given away, and the only thing of real interest is hearing Sally Field talking about the film as “pushing the boundaries”, as if this is some highly experimental movie, rather than a below average comedy.

There are five deleted scenes here, and also an alternate ending, available with or without commentary. To call these “deleted” is largely inaccurate, as most are either extended or slightly different versions of existing scenes. The other ending is just slightly longer than the final cut, finishing the film as it began, with a sweet moment rather than a joke. The director’s commentary is largely pointless, as he most often says things like “here’s a scene we cut…” Although unlisted in the menu, Chris Klein also shows up in the commentary here, but mostly to scream with laughter at the “hilarious” sequences. All these scenes are presented in non-anamorphic widescreen, and in such a “rough-cut” format that they frequently descend into black and white.

Finally there is the theatrical trailer and five TV spots from US television. All are presented in 4×3 full screen and Dolby Surround. A few scenes appear here that did not make it to either the final cut of the movie or the deleted scenes section.

DVD-ROM Extras
There are no ROM-based extras present on this disc.

Final Thoughts
This is probably the worst movie yet to appear with the Farrelly Brothers name on it. It’s not the subject matter that’s the problem; it’s just that it’s not that funny. The disc is of reasonable quality, and although the extras aren’t that impressive, little more would realistically have been expected. It’s one to rent only, and then only if you’re a Farrelly Brothers fanatic (and then only if there’s absolutely nothing left in the shop).

Andy Hall

Updated: May 14, 2002

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