Movie review: Taking offense to stereotype-ridden ‘Jewtopia’
If one-word reviews were acceptable, “Oy!” could completely cover the film adaptation of the surprise stage hit “Jewtopia.” But since more is required, more will be heaped upon the heads of co-writer/director Bryan Fogel and his co-scripter — and the play’s co-originator — Sam Wolfson for concocting such a thuddingly terrible farce. To call this winkfest toward an astoundingly retrograde sliver of Judaism offensive would be, well, offensive to the word offensive.
But Fogel and Wolfson gleefully, purposely, wallow in all kinds of time-warped ethnic — and other — stereotypes as they tell their decidedly lowbrow tale of a dimwitted but hunky Christian named, er, Christian (Ivan Sergei), who enlists his childhood buddy, neurotic dweeb Adam Lipschitz (Joel David Moore), to teach him how to “act Jewish.”
That’s because Christian has introduced himself as one Avi Rosenberg to impress a rabbi’s pretty daughter, Alison (Jennifer Love Hewitt). Adam, who’s engaged to hectoring control freak — and all-around Jewish nightmare — Hannah (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), gives his old pal the worst dating advice ever, which Christian laps up like a moronic sheepdog and unleashes upon Alison in several excruciatingly unfunny scenes.
The hyper-broad film then spins off into a virtual whiplash of comic awfulness (the filmmakers’ infantile, relentless obsession with all things genital is mind-numbing) that leads to a ridiculous set of “love conquers all” scenarios.
Wendie Malick, Rita Wilson, Jon Lovitz, Tom Arnold, Camryn Manheim, Phil Rosenthal and other practiced performers provide support but are torpedoed by the vulgar, nonsensical and, it bears repeating, offensive material.
“Jewtopia.” No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes. At Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills; Laemmle’s Town Center 5, Encino. Also on VOD.
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