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by: James Berardinelli

Beware the people in Hollywood who market movies. Say It Isn't So, the latest appropriately-named abomination to be foisted upon an unsuspecting public, is a perfect example of how film advertisers will do almost anything to sell their product. This movie is being trumpeted as "from the creators of There's Something About Mary." That would be the brother duo of Bobby & Peter Farrelly. However, to find their names, it's necessary to look a little deeper into the credits than the ads would lead one to expect. The Farellys are not listed as having any involvement in Say It Isn't So's direction or writing - they're just producers. The real "talents" behind this movie are director James B. Rogers (a co-producer on a couple of Farrelly Brothers films who is making his directorial debut here) and screenwriters Peter Gaulke & Gerry Swallow, who hopefully will have their pens taken from them after this effort.

Say It Isn't So is the kind of movie that makes Dumb & Dumber and Kingpin, a couple of early Farrelly Brothers movies I was not fond of, seem like comedic triumphs. At least I laughed a few times during those outings - Say It Isn't So didn't provoke one laugh. In fact, it didn't come close. No grins or chuckles - just a growing, weary acceptance that I was trapped in a theater for another 95-minute time-waster. The movie really doesn't try to be funny. Instead, the filmmakers opt for the gross-out route, foolishly believing that the gallery of grotesque behavior displayed on screen (including, but not limited to, incest, necrophilia, and beastiality) will be mistaken for humor. In the right context, that kind of stuff can work, but it has to be funny. Here, it's just in poor taste.

Say It Isn't So is a one-joke motion picture, but the joke isn't even funny. Chris Klein plays Gilly Noble, a nice guy living out a quiet life in the backwater town of Shelbyville, Indiana. Gilly's life is turned upside down the day he meets Jo Wingfield (Heather Graham). Much to the horror of Jo's mother, Valdine (Sally Field), and father, Walter (Richard Jenkins), the two fall head over heels in love. When Gilly proposes, Jo doesn't hesitate to accept - then comes the bombshell. Gilly was given away at birth, and the private investigator who has been looking for Gilly's mother finally uncovers her identity: Valdine Wingfield. Apparently, Gilly and Jo are brother and sister.

After having seen Heather Graham in about a dozen movies, I'm still trying to figure out why she's regarded as a hot property. Sure, she's cute, and there have been occasions when she has done an adequate (or even good) job, such as in Bowfinger and Boogie Nights. On the whole, however, she's not an exceptional talent or a great beauty, so it's difficult to pinpoint her appeal. In Say It Isn't So, she gives what is arguably her worst performance since Austin Powers 2. As Jo, she's dreadful, and none of her histrionics cause us to feel the least bit of sympathy for her self-involved character. It doesn't help that she's paired with Chris Klein, the American Pie actor who has all the charm and flexibility of a hunk of petrified wood. This guy seems to have two modes: either he looks like a deer blinded by headlights or Keanu Reeves when he has forgotten his lines. Orlando Jones has a thankless supporting role as Dig, a double leg amputee whose handicap is the punchline for about a dozen mirthless gags. Sally Field, whose reputation is already in the dumper after her inept direction of Beautiful (a movie that's almost as bad as this one), further dampens her appeal with a painfully over-the-top example of acting that's as unpleasant as fingernails scraping across a blackboard. Screeeeeeeeeech!

Say It Isn't So is made for those who double up laughing at the idea of a man getting his hand stuck up a steer's butt. My guess is tha


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