Say It Isn't So

Gross-out movies are running out of taboos to shatter to make people cringe. Each new movie released is less funny, more crass, and makes less money. Say It Isn't So continues the trend. Hmm, what's left? How about twisting a love story where the man and woman think they are siblings? Just to make it watchable, the two really aren't, but not everybody knows that. It sounds like something the Farrelly brothers would make, and it is. The difference here is that they only produced the movie, so it is missing some of the heart of their earlier movies, and some of the bottom-scraping barrel of their typical humor. It was written by Gerry Swallow and Peter Gaulke and directed by J.B. Rogers, all first timers to their respective roles.

Gilly Noble (Chris Klein, Here on Earth, American Pie) works for an animal shelter. He is an orphan looking for his mother. Jo Wingfield (Heather Graham, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Bowfinger) recently moved back into town. She is an attractive hair cutter. The two meet in one of the few amusing moments in the movie, and begin dating. When Gilly is ready to propose, he learns that Jo is his sister. She heads for Oregon, leaving Gilly with her mother Valdine (Sally Field, Where the Heart Is, Beautiful). Months later, Gilly learns he is not Jo's sister, and sets off to tell her. In Oregon, Jo is preparing to marry a rich man. Valdine wants this, so she informs authorities in Oregon that a sex offender is on his way. Once in Oregon, everybody thinks he is a pervert, including Jo.

If there were an actual story, Say It Isn't So would be so much the better. It's really a shame, especially since Graham and Klein are so well suited for their roles. It's all in their faces. Both of them radiate innocence and a sense of blissful ignorance. They really seem like nice people with things missing upstairs. For Graham, it's her large eyes, and for Klein, it's his constant vapid look. Even Field, who lately veers towards the annoying, relishes her role as a money-grubbing mother. Gifted comedians like Orlando Jones, Henry Cho, and Sarah Silverman are there, but don't really do anything.

Instead of developing their relationship, the movie substitutes montages to show the passage of time. This guts any sort of emotional bond the audience has with the characters. Rogers and crew are also trying too hard. They want to see how much further they can push the envelope so they focus on cheap stunts instead of jokes and plot. In an effort to top themselves, they forget that they are making a movie, not just a series of crass scenes. Say It Isn't So contains a chopped ear, a double amputee, a stroke victim, nipple rings, a man's arm up a cow's butt, and numerous references a la Deliverance. Amazingly, these scenes are not as crass as they could be. Unsurprisingly, they are not funny. The entire plot hinges on the fact that people think he had sex with his sister. It is a weak crux, since a simple explanation would stop everything. Too bad the characters are too busy acting stupid to speak or listen.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 30 minutes, Rated R for strong sexual content, crude humor, and language.

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