Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sighs Of The Viewers For Farce Of The Penguins

The Good: Moments of humor
The Bad: Humor is repetitive, Juvenile, Concept gets old very quickly, DVD Extras are more of same.
The Basics: Yeah, I laughed once or twice. But that's about all one might expect from Farce Of The Penguins.

A few years back, I went to the theaters to see the documentary The March Of The Penguins (reviewed here!) because it was supposed to be an astonishingly good documentary. I remember enjoying it, even if it was basically a PBS NOVA special on the big screen. When I heard that Bob Saget was doing a spoof of the film, I was mildly interested. I think I was more surprised when I found Farce Of The Penguins on DVD as I don't recall it actually coming to the theaters.

The story is simple: Samuel L. Jackson provides voice-over for the story of penguins traveling the seventy miles from food to their mates and their women then making the trek back and forth as well. Instead of telling anything remotely scholarly, Farce Of The Penguins becomes a buddy comedy between Carl and Jimmy, who are best friends. They wander back to their "bitches" (the movie's term, not mine) where they both score with the same penguin.

This is the type of movie that Farce Of The Penguins is. Various actors provide a line or two for various penguins and the film has an "assembled" quality to it that is less cohesive as it is filled with catch-phrases. The humor is pretty juvenile and banal, ranging from genital-size and fart jokes to breaking the fourth wall with penguins talking to the narrator. The average bit includes Gilbert Gottfried providing the line "I'm freezing my nuts off!" to the image of a shaking penguin and Norm MacDonald asking about joining in to a clip of a lone penguin walking around where two groups of penguins are mating. Yes, it's that outrageous and funny a movie.

The truth is, I did laugh once or twice during Farce Of The Penguins, but most of it was at the beginning when the idea of the movie was still fresh and almost all of the lines that I laughed at were delivered by Samuel L. Jackson. So much of the humor seemed forced, though, because the clips barely match a concept of what might be talked about by the penguins. So, for example, most of the women are relegated to generic jokes about parties, sanitary napkins and the club scene because the female penguins shown in the beginning are not truly doing anything.

This is like Mystery Science Theater 3000, save that the people participating have nothing terribly funny to say about the content. Most of the voice-over performers literally come in for one line (they are credited more by the lines they deliver than by character names because most of them don't even have character names). For example, John Stamos's cameo is as "What's Global Warming Penguin," can you guess what his line is?

I am surprised Farce Of The Penguins was given an "R" rating, though. Most of the content is sexually themed (but it's penguins and other animals having sex) and language elements; there is a fair amount of swearing and talk that sounds more like a lockerroom than anything else. The thing is, none of it is terribly clever . . . or genuinely funny. Instead, it just seems like a bunch of comedians walking in on a movie, making a comment and leaving. The few actors who provide voice-overs throughout (Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Saget, and Lewis Black) wear out their welcome because they basically start with a schtick and they get mired in it for the hour and a half that is this movie.

The bonus features on the DVD are equally uninspired. Bob Sagat provides a commentary track that explains why he bothered to make a parody of March Of The Penguins. Otherwise, there are previews for equally uninspired cinematic outings from Lionsgate and five deleted/extended scenes. The deleted scenes add nothing substantive to the film.

I enjoy documentaries and I loved the mocumentary Best In Show (reviewed here!). What that film had that Farce Of The Penguins lacked was a sense of timing and levels to it that it worked on. It told a story, mocked dog shows and Fred Willard provided a completely different experience as the crazy announced. Farce Of The Penguins just makes jokes over the stock footage of penguins doing their thing.

It is interesting to note that this spoof might have more relevance to those outside the United States of America. In other countries, in March Of The Penguins, the penguins were given personalities and lines, in the U.S. only Morgan Freeman had a voice.

But, ultimately, this is not a funny movie. Or the humor in it is repeated so often as to become droll and insipid.

For other animated films, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
The Lord Of The Rings
Perfect Blue


For other film reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2012, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |

No comments:

Post a Comment