Its hard to know where the American gross-out comedy can go from here, and its scary to even contemplate. Semen hair gel has been one-upped by pie humping, which in turn was one-upped by Scary Movies sperm fountain and hanging gonads. In Freddy Got Fingered, Tom Green performs explicit hand jobs on animals, swings a newborn baby around by its placenta and licks peoples open wounds. As in all the gross-out movies that preceded this one, these scenes get automatic laughs for their sheer audacity, but the infant gag in particular is at least as disturbing as it is funny. You may laugh, but youll probably hate yourself.
At least Green doesnt hold back from ridiculing himself. In one scene, as he flirts with a cute nurse (Marisa Coughlan), he asks her if hospitals are always this fun. No, she chirps back, sometimes people die of cancer! (For good measure, and so as not to miss a gross-out opportunity, Greens own cancer surgery footage later appears onscreen.) And there is that scene in which his new real-life wife, Drew Barrymore, puts in a cameo solely to aggressively reject his advances. (They kiss and make up in a gratuitous postcredits outtake.)
The plot, what little there is, will be familiar to viewers of Greens TV show: Would-be animator Gord (Green) moves back into his parents house, where he proceeds to torment them with his weird antics. Unlike in real life, however, Gords father, Jim (Rip Torn, game and fearless), proves to be a raging psychopath (think Robert De Niro in Meet the Parents times ten), prompting Gord to constantly doubt his own ability while simultaneously plotting elaborate revenge pranks, one of which is alluded to in the films title. But since it doesnt occur until at least an hour into the film, youll have to figure it out for yourself.
Greens onscreen gags have always come in several different breeds, all of which appear here. Theres the really elaborate prank, such as the time he sneaks into an art gallery, hangs his own painting on the wall and returns the next day to deface it. Theres the simple gross-out, usually involving a dead animal or putting something disgusting in his mouth. And of course theres lots of yelling and repetition of certain words until they appear to have lost all meaning. Now, because hes freed from both TV standards and practices and the reality setup of his TV show, we can add a new category: a character sustaining grievous bodily harm, screaming in pain as the blood spurts and yelling fuck! over and over.
This would perhaps be funnier if there were any real characters in the movie, but beyond Gord and his dad, theres no character development whatsoever. Green really needs a straight man; TV sidekick Glenn Humplik is sorely missed, and the films funniest routines involve exchanges with normal folk. As director, Green even manages to make nutso comedian Harland Williams (Rocketman) seem kinda ... dull. MTVs making of the movie special, in which Green makes fun of his actual cast and crew, delivers more frequent laughs than the film itself. Beyond all that, theres a big difference between acting like a loon in a public place surrounded by real people and doing so on a soundstage with actors. Green doesnt seem to fully understand that difference yet. His cameos in Road Trip and Charlies Angels were both more consistently amusing than his role here, though let it be said that when Freddy Got Fingered works, it really works. Too bad, then, that those moments are, at best, sporadic.