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Farce Of The Penguins
voice cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Saget, Lewis Black, Christina Applegate, and Mo'nique

writer and director: Bob Saget

77 minutes (15) 2006
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Revolver DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 1/10
reviewed by Ian R. Faulkner
When my wife decided we had to watch Luc Jacquet's The March Of The Penguins (2005) I didn't expect much, but soon found myself strangely riveted by one of the best animal documentaries I had seen since David Attenborough's original Life On Earth series hit the BBC in 1979.

With this in mind, when Farce Of The Penguins dropped through my letterbox, I found myself actually looking forward to this mockumentary with high hopes. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson (he of the purple light sabre, and the striking down with great vengeance and furious anger) and chockfull of other recognisable names (Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Damon Wayans, Whoopi Goldberg and James Belushi, to name but a few), I thought to myself: boy, this is going to be dead funny.

Wrong. Dead wrong. In fact, I had to literally stop half way through Farce Of The Penguins to ask myself how I could have been so wrong? And, more to the point, what the hell was Samuel Jackson thinking when he agreed to narrate this film? Okay, so Morgan Freeman narrated the English version of March Of The Penguins and I could see how Mr Jackson might, perhaps, have thought that if Mr Freeman could do a film about penguins and still be cool, why couldn't and shouldn't he? Well, Mr Jackson, Sam, the answer is simple: you can't. March... is a good film, whilst Farce... is, well, a farce.

The plot of the film revolves around the insecure and neurotic Carl, voiced by the writer-director, Bob Saget, and his quest for true love, as he and his buddies trek across the vast tundra in search of mates (or, lowering the tone to the level of the film, pussy). Carl is motivated and spurred on by the wisecracking and cynical Jimmy (Lewis Black) and the slick and confidant (and allegedly well hung) African American, Marcus (Tracy Morgan).

We also get to meet Melissa (Christina Applegate), who is, unbeknownst to Carl, the prize awaiting him at the end of the movie and his long inland search for love. Melissa is just what Carl wants: she is the object of his heart's desire and, together with her friend Vicky (Mo'nique), she is out there on the ice, waiting for her prince to come and take her way from it all.

Farce Of The Penguins contains a few mild chuckles, but it's ultimately a one-joke show stretched well beyond breaking point. It is filled with the crude and lewd; its inane, lowbrow toilet humour would be better suited to an audience of 10-year-old boys on a sugar high, but with the amount of swearing by Saget and his team, even this more appropriate audience is lost to it. The obscene dialogue is, on the whole, dreadfully unfunny. It may have faired better and been funnier as a very short sketch on some late night TV show, but as a movie it just fails miserably, becoming almost unbearable as the miles and minutes tick by.

Surely, an actor of Jackson's calibre should have been able to spot this as a total stinker from a mile away (certainly shouldn't have taken 70 minutes). I mean, how many flatulence or freezing testicle jokes are needed in a script before the alarm bells go off? It does the man no favours at all and made me wonder how soon into the production Mr Jackson started to regret his decision and wish he had avoided, such an obvious straight to DVD release, like the plague.

The special features include a commentary by Bob Saget; a 15-minute interview with the director; seven minutes of never-before-seen bonus footage with optional commentary, which I admit I couldn't bring myself to watch; censored and uncensored trailers; and a behind the scenes montage. Overall verdict: do what Samuel L. Jackson should have done, and give this one a miss.
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