Author’s Note: For the time being, I’ve decided to do real-time reviews of bad straight-to-DVD releases. They hardly seem worth spending more time on than the 90 minutes it takes to watch them.
01:00: Well, it’s written and directed by Bob Saget, so I already know we’re talking quality flick here. This guy was the host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Full House,” and reporter #4 in Meet Wally Sparks, y’all. This is real motherfucking talent.
01:15: The movie’s tagline is “What happens in Antarctica … stays in Antarctica.” Man, like the “Got Milk?” joke, that one never gets old.
01:15: Farce of the Penguins is narrated by Sam Jackson. Because the original was narrated by Morgan Freeman, see. You get where Saget is going, right? Keep up with me here.
01:20: Jackson tells us that Antarctica is cold, cold enough to warrant a sweater or “maybe you want to wrap your pubic hair around your testicles. It’s that cold. If you’re a woman, you probably wouldn’t have testicles, so you’d let your pubic hair grow really long around your vagina.” You know, it’s not even funny when Sam Jackson says it. But you just have to love pubic hair humor, right? Always funny. That reminds me of a joke someone told me when I was 12: Why are public hairs curly? So you don’t poke your eye out! It’s best if you tell it in a pirate voice. Don’t ask me why.
01:51: Jackson: “If you’re one of those people who have both testicles and a vagina, you probably don’t even want to go to Antarctica. Amsterdam makes more sense.” It’s the joke that keeps on giving.
02:20: It’s still giving.
02:49: Jackson: “This is the story about creatures that have lived for millions of year’s in Mother Earth’s frigid, white penis … it is a story about love. Penguin love.” Why do I get the feeling that Jackson’s narration is going to end with “The Aristocrats!”
03:48: The penguins talk, but because of “budgetary constraints,” we can’t see their mouths move. Saget and Lewis Black are discussing relationships, food, and getting laid. Saget is apparently the lead, presumably because he couldn’t find anyone else to stick around long enough to provide a voice through the entire film.
06:28: One of the penguins is kvetching because natured screwed him in such a way that he “can’t even jerk off.” Isn’t it a beautiful image? A penguin masturbating! It’s like a Monet painting, isn’t it?
07:30: Saget: “If I had testicles right now, they’d be up inside my body.” Lewis Black: “If you had testicles, you’d be being raped by a seal.” Seal: “No means no.” Man alive: Rape humor! In the animal kingdom. Too bad Steve Irwin is not around for this — it’s transcendent. Really.
10:25: OK, you want to feel old? One of the female penguins is voiced by Vanessa Lee Evigan, the 25-year-old daughter of Greg Evigan. And if you don’t remember who Greg Evigan is, shame on you. He was one of the fathers in “My Two Dads.” And for those who are curious, Staci Keanan turned out all right — she seems to have avoided the child-star plague. Oh wait. Scratch that. IMDB says she is sometimes credited as “Staci Love.” I’m assuming she’s only credited as such when she’s straddling a stripper pole.
10:55: The film’s first kind-of-funny line — Christina Applegate: “I’m just tired of the club scene.” Mo’Nique: “So are baby seals.” Ha!
11:25: Lewis Black: “I’m so full right now, if I farted, a minnow would fall out of my ass. And I’d probably eat it too.” It’s as if my poor dead father were reincarnated as a penguin voiced by Lewis Black. Dad?
12:12: I should probably note that, while all of these ridiculously banal, dirty conversations are taking place, the penguins are walking across Antarctica, on their way to “get themselves some pussy.”
16:19: He’s not credited, but one of the penguins is voiced by B.J. Ryan. He has one line. C’mon, B.J. Really? I’m thinking the noncredit was intentional.
16:30: Saget and Black are discussing which animals are capable of scratching their own asses. Walruses, apparently, are the fortunate ones. Honestly, I think that puts them higher on the evolutionary scale than Saget.
17:47: Tracy Morgan is the angry black penguin. There’s a surprise. Way to play against type there, Tracy. Take any “SNL” skit that Morgan was in, and substitute his dialogue here. I think, in fact, that’s just what Saget has done.
21:39: Mo’Nique on dating: “Second base used to mean copping a feel. Now it’s heeeey! Liftin’ it up and showing my puddin’ pop.” Oh gawd! I just checked Urban Dictionary to see if pudding pop has an alternate meaning. And, it does. And Jesus Christ, I’ll never eat another pudding pop again.
22:43: I’m currently experiencing a bad, bad, bad, bad musical interlude. Sample line: “So many men, they want one thing: to slip it in, without a ring.” What does that even mean? Oh, it rhymes with “It’s not clean. It’s going to sting.” Well, now I understand.
25:30: The male penguins have apparently walked in a complete circle. They’re right back where they started. Tracy Morgan is angry. He has decided to leave the pack. The level of torture has diminished ever so slightly.
27:40: Jackson is breaking the fourth wall right now, talking to the penguins. Lewis Black to Jackson: “You stuck me in the middle of a stock-footage clusterfuck.” Jackson follows up with a “You can’t handle the truth” nod to A Few Good Men. It’s only a matter of time before we get a Jerry Magu … oh. There it is: “Help me, help you.” I’m assuming that Saget has now officially exhausted his entire arsenal of pop culture references.
28:00: Meta alert! Saget, as the penguin, is talking about how hard it was to write this film. Cut to monkey at a typewriter.
30:51: Wow. We’re only half an hour in, and I’ve already experienced enough flatulence humor to steer me clear of burritos for months. So, no burritos. And no pudding pops. Saget has officially taken away half my diet.
32:00: Military marching song: “I’m not sure, but this I know. Penguins pussy is mighty cold.” Can you believe that Lee Ermey forgot that one in Full Metal Jacket?
32:51: Jackson: “The sun is setting earlier now. The weather is getting colder. And I can’t wait to finish recording this shit and go play golf.” And the thing is, I don’t even know if he’s joking.
33:12: Requisite Gilbert Gottfried spot: “I’m freezing my nuts off. I’m freezing my nuts off.” I’m telling you, he says it at least 30 times. And again. And again. And again. Can you hear it? It’s ringing in my ears. Gottfried’s voice is just going to echo in my head all goddamn day. “I’m freezing my nuts off.” Well, we know who’s going to get the first penguin action figure now. Kids are going to be waking up on Christmas morning and unwrapping a Gottfried penguin; they’ll pull the string, and it will chime, “I’m freezing my nuts off.” And you just know the kid will pull that string until either it or the parent breaks.
40:30: Fart joke. It’d been, like, seven minutes.
44:00: Gottfried hasn’t been on the screen now for 10 minutes, but all I can hear anymore is “I’m freezing my nuts off.” I don’t know how to block it out of my head. It’s, like, my Vietnam.
45:49: The male penguins have finally met the female penguins. Saget penguin falls in love with Applegate penguin right off the bat, while a Goo Goo Dolls song plays; Saget quotes the song as a pick up line (“You’re the closest to heaven that I’ve ever been …”) Lewis Black: “I’ve never seen anyone cock block themselves faster than what I just witnessed.” Clearly, you haven’t met the guy who tried to show this flick to a girl on their first date.
48:50: Harvey Fierstein is a female panda (in the Antarctic?); he’s going on about her five husbands. “None of them made me come like my Herbie. … I’ve got more lines around my uterus than you do on your resume.” Honestly, it’s like he’s found the exact lines I never wanted to hear a giant panda say.
50:00: Now begins the penguin orgy. Saget: “Reminds me of the scene in Eyes Wide Shut.” If Kubrick were alive right now, he’d go to Saget’s house and hook him up to one of those Clockwork Orange contraptions to keep his eyeballs open and force Saget to watch his own film on a loop. And then he’d punch him in the nose.
51:00: Tracy Morgan is back. Goddamnit. He’s going on about his large penguin penis. Now he’s getting at Mo’Nique penguin. They’re talking dirty. “You better work it. Stand on me. Let’s make some eggs together.” Umm … I miss Gilbert Gottfried.
51:27: Dane Cook! He’s almost as unfunny here, as a penguin who meets women online, as he is in real life.
52:00: Norm McDonald Penguin to a couple of penguins having sex: “You mind if I just stand here and urinate all over you?” Oh man, that actually sounds more pleasurable than watching Farce of the Penguins.
56:47: Saget and Applegate are hooking up. I’m watching this on my laptop, in a coffee shop, wearing headphones. I’m terrified that someone is looking over my shoulder, under the impression that I’m into penguin porn or something. Thank you, Bob Saget. This is exactly the sort of reputation I’d always hoped to build: The guy who gets off on penguins having sex.
1:00: The screen is completely dark; apparently, Lewis Black accidentally had sex with Applegate penguin during a sleepwalking episode. Oh wow! Oh wow! Is this the making of a “My Two Dads” twist? Full circle, people. Full circle.
1:02: Nope. There will be no “My Two Dads” predicament, damn it. We have just learned that Lewis Black, er, made penguin whoopee with the wrong, er, orifice. There’s wrong, there’s totally wrong, and then there is Farce of the Penguins.
1:03: Applegate: “You just have to forgive him.” Saget: “I can’t. He was in your butt.” I think I read the same exchange on the blog Overheard in New York.
1:05: Saget is singing some terrible ballad now: “We were best friends. And then he came up behind. … He didn’t love her. He just kind of plugged her. In a way I neeeeeeeeeever did.” Oh gawd. Oh gawd. Oh gawd. Now the people in the coffee shop must be wondering why a grown man is weeping at penguin porn.
1:07: Applegate lays an egg. Jackson: “The father stuffs that egg up inside his nutless sack for more than two months.” Poetry.
1:07: The female penguins have to walk back. They have their own marching song, too: “I’m not sure, but this I know: Penguin dicks get mighty cold. Seventy miles on these tiny legs, while our bitches stay home up on our eggs.” It’s the same song my wife sang to me when we were courting.
1:08: I’m not sure when it happened, but Adam Duritz voiced one of the penguins while I was trying to explain to the coffee shop employee not to worry, that I was reviewing a very important film for a site called Pajiba. He asked me what a Pajiba was. I let him watch a few seconds of Farce of the Penguins and I think he understood. And of course, I told him I’d be happy to leave soon. Oh, and Adam Durtitz: I wonder if, when he and Mr. Jones were looking into the future, he saw himself voicing a penguin in a Bob Saget film.
1:09: Lewis Black Penguin and Saget Penguin are making up now. Tracy Morgan: “This is so nice. It makes me so happy. It takes a big man to forgive his friend after he busts his woman’s bootyhole open.” Seriously. I am not making this shit up. I wouldn’t know how, except perhaps to string together a bunch of mad libs written by fourth graders who just discovered the joys of profanity.
1:10: The Saget/Applegate penguin love child is born. The family is united. Saget: “It’s a boy, honey.” Applegate: “He has your neurotic glare.”
1:11: Jackson: “The babies are up and on their own. Except for the few who may have a learning disability.” Are you havin’ a laugh?
1:12: Now something weird is happening. A “Hispanic” penguin is running to the top of a hill and inexplicably shouting, “I’m Dirty Sanchez. I’m the king of the world,” and then an eagle grabs him, and then it cuts to the Statue of Liberty, up to its chest in sand, and another penguin is yelling, “Fuck global warming,” and then the Saget and Applegate penguins are singing at the sky, and fireworks are popping. Honestly, I’ve watched this five times now, and even the scene before it, just to figure out what the hell is going on. But there’s no making sense of it — it’s a complete non sequitur. Random. Totally out of left field. It’s not even funny. But in a way, I think, it’s the greatest scene in the entire film. It is the greatest scene in the film — maybe in the entire history of film. Why? Because it’s the last one. Because at one hour and 13 minutes, Farce of the Penguins has mercifully ended. It feels like … like … like someone has just lifted their foot off my windpipe. I can breathe again. I can feel the air in my lungs. Actually, I think I’m regaining a few of my senses. Ah. I can smell again! I have feeling in my toes. Glory be! Glory be! I feel like Jimmy Stewart in the final scenes of It’s a Wonderful Life. My mouth’s bleeding, Bert! My mouth’s bleeding!
Tune back in two weeks from now, when I offer a real-time review of Man About Town a straight-to-DVD feature starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Romijn, John Cleese, Kal Penn, and Bai Ling.
Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives with his wife in Ithaca, New York. You may email him, or leave a comment below.
Real-Time Review of Farce of the Penguins / Dustin Rowles
Film | February 1, 2007 | Comments ()