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It aims low, and it reaches its goal. One of the saving graces of "Saving Silverman" is that it doesn't pretend to be anything great. There's no false advertising here; the movie is selling cheap laughs, and cheap they are.

The plot centers around three friends and how they react when one of them settles down with a serious girlfriend. Wayne (Steve Zahn), J.D. (Jack Black) and Darren Silverman (Jason Biggs) are the stereotypical best friends invariably found in every movie in which friendship is tested by the presence of a woman. Wayne and J.D. are originally thrilled that Darin has managed to nab uberhottie Judith, played by voluptuous Amanda Peet, but soon lose their enthusiasm when they discover she is a manipulative "puppeteer." They try to cope in a mature way until Judith forces Darren to quit their Neil Diamond cover band. The duo then kidnaps Judith, and, in typical Hollywood fashion, pseudo-hilarity ensues.

This movie is a little on the predictable side, but it did have more spice to it than most Hollywood exports. For every seemingly trite and overused storyline, there is a twist. For example, the girl that Wayne tries to set Darren up with in the hopes of making him forget Judith is a nun in training who came from a long line of circus freaks. Also, the cover band, Diamonds in the Rough, is obsessed with a '70s-'80s pop icon, instead of a more modern, recognizable figure. Kudos to the filmmakers for going old school.

"Saving Silverman" is not trying to wow the audience with outstanding dialogue or mind-bending special effects. It's just trying to entertain, stringing long running gags together in an attempt to make some obscure ironic statement. That is the film's most prominent flaw; the jokes run too long in the hope that some great punch line will pop up, but it never does.

The comedy mostly occurs when the directors throw in some visual gag. When Wayne talks to Sandy (Amanda Detmer), the nun-to-be for whom Darren has been pining for years, the conversation takes place in front of an adult bookstore. The convent scenes are dominated by images of nuns boxing. Things like this are amusing, but in an ironic-funny way instead of a ha ha-funny way.

Performances range from "adequate" to "oh how I wish they could give this guy better material." Peet adequately portrays the coldhearted Judith; she is beautiful and displays a wide range of chest-revealing outfits. Steve Zahn, on the other hand, brings life to a character that has been done many times and makes it original and totally his own. Jason Biggs spends this movie with a look on his face that implies he could show some real emotion if only the script let him.

If you read too much into this movie, you might think it's a satirical commentary about how weak men allow themselves to be manipulated by beautiful women. Don't, though; you might miss the boxing nuns.


Stephen Hoeplinger is a senior at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute.

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