Freddy Got Fingered: Chris Helcermanas-Benge
April 20, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

In one of the few moments in Freddy Got Fingered when Tom Green comes close to resembling a member of the human race, our gentle hero, looking like the gangly misfit son of Alan Rickman, is out on a date at a posh restaurant when he picks up an oversize cordless receiver and pretends to conduct an ”important” world financial cell phone conversation with an intimidated underling. He jabbers on about ”40 million f—ing deutsche marks,” working his way into a self important froth of yuppie hysteria. Moments later, he’s standing on a bar, smashing the violin he has grabbed from the dining room string quartet, grimacing like a flipped out Quasimodo as he screams, with self loathing sarcastic pique, ”It’s a fancy restaurant!” So much for the high point of ”Freddy Got Fingered.”

The rest of the movie consists, for the most part, of Green’s close encounters with meat and goo, human and otherwise. He hangs steaks from his ears and plays an electric piano with his fingers tied to long strings that have sausages dangling from them. He slits open a deer that’s lying dead on the highway, obsessively draping himself in its organs and bloody pelt. He delivers a baby, severing the umbilical cord with his teeth (a gag stolen from John Waters’ 1975 ”Female Trouble” — believe me, it was funnier there), then twirls the infant around like a tetherball with what’s left of the cord. In one notable variation on the meat theme, Green is in the basement when Rip Torn, as his loathsome abusive father, pulls down his own pants, bares his jiggly white buttocks, and playfully demands (or does he mean it?) to get sodomized.

To anyone familiar with Tom Green, it’s no surprise that he spends much of ”Freddy Got Fingered,” which he directed and cowrote, caught in paroxysms of screaming agony. The surprise is that many in the audience may feel like joining him. To dismiss this movie for being ”offensive” would be to offer it high praise. With its laborious and slipshod stunts, its hero who veers back and forth, without warning or logic, from being a cowering fussbudget to an id happy gross out demon, ”Freddy Got Fingered” isn’t remotely an outrage. It’s a disaster, a case of a freakish yet dangerously one note personality too besotted with ego to understand that there’s got to be more to a feature length comedy than his own mocking, seething, look at how smart I am about being stupid self.

Green has a hyperactive computer addict’s stringbean body, a wimp’s receding profile (his goatee seems to be shouting, ”I know I’m here to fill out this guy’s loser face!”), and the rabid, staring eyes of a deranged lizard. On MTV, he’s a blitzkrieg nerd, devious yet infantile, blankly indifferent to everything in the world but his ability to get a rise out of you. His refusal to radiate anything that resembles compassion or concern for other people (on his infamous MTV cancer special, he barely evinced concern for HIMSELF) is the key to what, in small doses, can be funny and bracing about him. He’s the misanthrope as scalawag prankster, perpetually standing outside of himself, staring, with conspiratorial glee, at the ”America’s sickest home video” gags that he dreams up and performs in order to tweak, jolt, and command our increasingly jaded attention spans.

To raise moral objection to Green’s antics is to play right into his hand. It would be like complaining that a skunk sprays you; that, quite simply, is what a skunk does. (A more relevant issue might be, Why does our culture so enjoy getting sprayed?) Yet Tom Green’s remorseless showbiz cool turns out to be dependent on the relative spontaneity of pop trash ”reality” television. On ”The Tom Green Show,” he’s an unholy ringmaster — Ernie Kovacs with the soul of Butt-head — who is always saying, implicitly, Look at what the hell I’m getting away with! Look at what we’re all watching on television!

In ”Freddy Got Fingered,” Green plays a ”character,” a skateboard punk loser named Gord whose daddy didn’t wuv him, who dreams of turning his secret cartoon sketches into an animated show, and who can barely hold on to his job of piling American cheese slices onto submarine sandwiches. Who wants to see a poor, pitiful, struggling Tom Green? If he’s not the reptilian master of all that surrounds him, he’s just a weak-chinned antic pest who can’t act.

Gord meets a girlfriend, of sorts. Her name is Betty (Marisa Coughlan), she’s a button-nose cutie in a wheelchair, and their romance consists of him whacking her paralyzed legs until she squeals with pleasure, and her following that up by offering him enthusiastic oral sex. This is about as close to a genuine relationship as there is in the movie, but then, the ultimate relationship in ”Freddy Got Fingered” is the love affair between Tom Green and bodily fluids — namely blood, fresh from the udder cow milk, and elephant sperm. You may end up wanting to take a shower. That is, if you’re still awake.

93 minutes
Tom Green
Tom Green,
Anthony Michael Hall,
Eddie Kaye Thomas,
Stephen Tobolowsky,
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