Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Pervasive Crude Sexual Content and Language
Directed by: Bob Saget
Written by: Bob Saget
Voices of: Bob Saget, Lewis Black, Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Applegate, Jamie Kennedy, David Koechner, Whoopi Goldberg, Mo’Nique, Tracy Morgan, Carlos Mencia, Dane Cook, Jason Alexander, Jason Biggs, Norm Macdonald, Brie Larson, James Belushi, Dave Coulier, John Stamos, Jon Lovitz, Gilbert Gottfried, Damon Wayans & Abe Vigoda
If you’ve only seen Bob Saget in the long-running sitcom FULL HOUSE or hosting AMERICA’S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS, you might think he’s a family friendly comedian who constantly indulges in funny voices. You would be dead wrong though, because this man is a very adult-oriented, filthy comedian. Besides pulling a lot of dirty pranks behind the scenes of FULL HOUSE (which have been detailed in entertaining stories from former cast and crew members), Saget also had a penchant for producing disgusting stand-up comedy. He constantly swore up a storm on the stage and though I don’t find him to be hysterically funny, I can see the appeal in his profanity-laden brand of humor.
FARCE OF THE PENGUINS is Saget’s spoof of acclaimed documentary MARCH OF THE PENGUINS. Saget stated that he merely wanted to redub that original documentary, but wasn’t able to get permission from the filmmakers (gee, I wonder why). Instead, this X-rated real life counterpart to Danny Tanner compiled a mountain of stock footage and painstakingly edited it together. FARCE’s story revolves around penguins Carl (Bob Saget) and Jimmy (Lewis Black). Carl is a neurotic mess looking for love and Jimmy is a horny jerk starved for sex. Along with hundreds of other penguins, the two pals trek across the Antarctic for their annual mating season. Elsewhere, penguin Melissa (Christina Applegate) is waiting for “the one.” There are also subplots about a crazy loner (Carlos Mencia), a band of flightless birds that get lost in a barren landscape caused by global warming, and Samuel L. Jackson narrates with gratuitous “fucks” thrown every which way.
FARCE seems like one of those animal clips from AMERICA’S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS with a larger voice cast, a feature-length running time, and more profanity/sex jokes than you would ever see on network television. Saget was clearly having a good time in making this movie and called out a lot of favors, as demonstrated by a large cast of big comedians (most of whom only pop in for a quick vocal cameo, before taking off running). Sadly, FARCE is an all-around failure that might have been funny if it were fifteen minutes long or if Saget found a way to keep things interesting beyond the one joke premise. Neither of those things happen though, turning FARCE into an all-out endurance test. This movie drags to a point where an 80 minute running time feels over two hours long. By the time the third act arrives (complete with extra scenes throughout the end credits), anyone drunk or high enough to get legitimate joy out of this film will likely be passed out or comatose in their boredom.
Even Saget seems to get bored with his main narrative, because he frequently finds reasons to cut away to other stock footage of different animals through FAMILY GUY-like throwaway lines. These include moments like Jimmy saying “Have you ever seen a walrus scratch it’s balls?” and then we cut away to thirty seconds of various walruses scratching themselves. Does that sound funny? What about the bit where they reference the writer of this movie and cut to an adorable monkey with a typewriter? That actually may have been a funny joke, but then Saget milks that primate footage for two more minutes of screen time. The only two moments that could have elicited chuckles out of me were already revealed in the 90-second-long trailer, Norm Macdonald asking to join in a threesome and Gilbert Gottfried screaming about “freezing his nuts off.”
In terms of lame spoofs, FARCE OF THE PENGUINS is marginally lower than reference-heavy garbage like MEET THE SPARTANS, DISASTER MOVIE, and EPIC MOVIE. Though those big-budget spoofs are abhorrently unfunny, mistake pop culture references for humor, and seem like pimples on the ass of the cinematic landscape, at least they have the decency to keep viewers rolling their eyes in frustration. FARCE OF THE PENGUINS is a struggle to get through and makes it seem like an insurmountable task to keep yourself awake for 80 straight minutes. If you have the desire to see comedians dub over penguins, then you’d be better off watching the FARCE trailer on YouTube and leaving it at that.