Farce of the Penguins
The bar has been set for the worst DVD of 2007. Bob Saget, the genius who brought you "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "Full House," has set a new standard for terrible, unfunny, stupid movies. Who would have thought that Dave Coulier's stint on the "Surreal Life" and the anorexia of one of the Olsen twins would not be the most embarrassing thing a former cast member of "Full House" would do.
Spoofs aren't easy. That's about all that we can take away from Farce of the Penguins, a steaming pile of cow dung that stand-up comic and television host Bob Saget has foisted upon the direct-to-DVD consumers of America. It's nice to take something away, since you've likely given away both your time and money in renting/buying and watching this junk, and you are never getting that back.
As should be obvious from the title, Saget has created a parody of the successful (and unlike his slop, interesting and entertaining) documentary , March of the Penguins. The "farce" of the title is simply the use of stock footage of penguins walking, eating, going to the bathroom, and having what looks like sex while the voiceovers of Saget and 500 of his friends and acquaintances supply the penguin's foul-mouthed dialogue. Most of the R-rated dialogue is along the lines of this; "boy, I just ate a lot of fish, I'm gonna have to crap soon....oh, look, I just took a dump. There's a female penguin, I'd really like to have sex with her." The movie uses the actual profanities for words like crap, dump, and sex, so make your own substitution above and you get the idea. Hilarious, isn't it?
To remind people of Morgan Freeman's voice, Samuel L. Jackson narrates the story (apparently Lawrence Fishburne was busy.) Saget voices a neurotic penguin named Carl who is trying to find true love and hopes he will find it with Melissa (Christina Applegate.) Jimmy (Lewis Black) tries to keep Carl focused on eating and walking, the two things the penguins need to accomplish before they get their Antarctic nookie. Mo'Nique and Tracy Morgan are around because if there is anything funnier than penguins talking about sex, it's penguins voiced by black actors talking about sex. In addition to the main voices, there are lots of vocal cameos from people like Jason Alexander, John Stamos, Jon Lovitz, Whoopi Goldberg, and on and on. Most come and go for less than five seconds, and ten minutes into this film, you really envy them.
It's possible that this could have been a very funny five minute short film, but as an 80 minute endurance test, it's painful. There are three or four funny lines or moments, and since the verbal jokes are the only thing happening, besides stock penguin footage, it's not nearly enough. Based on some of the comments in the movie and things Saget says in the commentary, there is an expectation that drunk fratboys will be the key audience for this product. I wouldn't be surprised, but really, just turn the sound down on any show you happen to be watching. Now, say a lot of curse words and make a few truly infantile sex jokes while watching the images. The movie is literally as funny as that.
After sitting through the movie itself, the last thing any person would want to do is subject themselves to any of the extras on this disc. Bob Saget provides a commentary track that includes such nuggets as "that ice looks like an anus." He does say a few funny things, but like the movie itself, you don't want to sit through 80 minutes of boorish torture for two minutes of laughs.
There is a twelve minute featurette called "To the Earth's 'Ice-Hole' and Back with Bob Saget." Get it? 'Ice-Hole' is standing in for another word. It's a play on the word "ass" with the word "ice." Get it? Get it? If that title made you laugh your ice off, then this movie may work for you. The featurette is a faux interview with Saget, supposedly in Antarctica, about how hard it was to work with the penguin actors. It's stupid and unfunny, but that goes without saying, almost.
The one semi-entertaining (or at least semi-enlightening) items is a look at the recording of the voice work by the many guests. Typically, someone walked in, was handed a piece of paper that said something like "ouch, watch out, that's my foot you F***er!" and then walked out. That's pretty much how the movie comes across; a person with no interest in what they are doing reading words off a piece of paper because someone asked them to.
The rest of the extras include the (possibly unintentionally) amusing title "Never-Before-Seen Bonus Footage." Since this is a direct-to-DVD release, all of the footage is never-before-seen. If you're lucky, it will remain never seen for your long and fruitful life. There is also both uncensored and censored trailers. The trailers give a good indication that cut down to less than 10 minutes (and being handled by a funnier guy), this could have been something. Finally, there is original footage on the menus. So, instead of just clicking "menu" and getting your choices, you have to sit through 30 additional seconds of unfunny Saget lines.
This is a weak piece of junky product that doesn't live up to even the minimum expectations that the title and the name of Bob Saget will create. There are spoofs that eclipse this entire disc in their first five minutes, and you should do yourself a favor and get one of those DVDs instead. Don't be fooled into thinking that getting drunk will make all of this more amusing.
Reviewed By: Edward Perkis