Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Jewtopia

Oy! Jewtopia may sound like utopia, but watching it will give you a vision of hell.

Sept 19, 2013

-By Eric Monder


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1385348-Jewtopia_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

You don’t have to be Jewish to be offended by Jewtopia, a movie based on an apparently successful play. The romantic situation comedy of a Gentile man pretending to be Jewish in order to win over a Jewish girl is hardly a novel idea—and this version makes 1922’s Abie’s Irish Rose seem fresh and insightful.

In the screenplay by Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson, Christian (Ivan Sergei), after many years, feels ready to get over being dumped by his Jewish college sweetheart when he meets another young Jewish woman, Alison (Jennifer Love Hewitt). But Christian doesn’t want to take the chance of being dumped again for not being Jewish, so he asks his childhood friend, Adam (Joel David Moore), to help him “become” Jewish. Not only that, but Christian, who is a plumber, pretends to be a well-to-do doctor. Meanwhile, Adam must contend with his demanding fiancée, Hanna (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), and both men suffer from the personal and professional expectations of their dysfunctional families. Ultimately, it is matter of when, not if, Alison discovers the truth and accepts Christian for who he is (Christian, get it?)—but hopefully you won’t be watching Jewtopia by that point.

Directed and produced by Fogel, here is a film that trades in both ethnic stereotypes and bathroom humor without ever being remotely funny. While it is possible to make such a movie with laughs—note some of the works by the Farrelly Brothers, who turn stereotypes on their head—Jewtopia is consistently mirthless and unpleasant (though credit Fogel and company for paying tribute by hiring Farrelly Brothers regular Lin Shaye for a small role).

The rest of the cast is a mix of the intractable (Love Hewitt, Tom Arnold) and the lightly likeable (Sergei, Wendie Malick), but no one emerges unscathed from the motherload of vagina and penis jokes (the climactic one involving an actual circumcision). Some (like Malick and Camryn Manheim) should actually be ashamed of themselves since they have shown their abilities at comedy elsewhere. But the puerile script is the main problem, and no one in the cast or crew could have fixed that.

If Jewtopia’s premise sounds at all appealing, skip it and rent an episode of “Bridget Loves Bernie” instead.


Film Review: Jewtopia

Oy! Jewtopia may sound like utopia, but watching it will give you a vision of hell.

Sept 19, 2013

-By Eric Monder


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1385348-Jewtopia_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

You don’t have to be Jewish to be offended by Jewtopia, a movie based on an apparently successful play. The romantic situation comedy of a Gentile man pretending to be Jewish in order to win over a Jewish girl is hardly a novel idea—and this version makes 1922’s Abie’s Irish Rose seem fresh and insightful.

In the screenplay by Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson, Christian (Ivan Sergei), after many years, feels ready to get over being dumped by his Jewish college sweetheart when he meets another young Jewish woman, Alison (Jennifer Love Hewitt). But Christian doesn’t want to take the chance of being dumped again for not being Jewish, so he asks his childhood friend, Adam (Joel David Moore), to help him “become” Jewish. Not only that, but Christian, who is a plumber, pretends to be a well-to-do doctor. Meanwhile, Adam must contend with his demanding fiancée, Hanna (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), and both men suffer from the personal and professional expectations of their dysfunctional families. Ultimately, it is matter of when, not if, Alison discovers the truth and accepts Christian for who he is (Christian, get it?)—but hopefully you won’t be watching Jewtopia by that point.

Directed and produced by Fogel, here is a film that trades in both ethnic stereotypes and bathroom humor without ever being remotely funny. While it is possible to make such a movie with laughs—note some of the works by the Farrelly Brothers, who turn stereotypes on their head—Jewtopia is consistently mirthless and unpleasant (though credit Fogel and company for paying tribute by hiring Farrelly Brothers regular Lin Shaye for a small role).

The rest of the cast is a mix of the intractable (Love Hewitt, Tom Arnold) and the lightly likeable (Sergei, Wendie Malick), but no one emerges unscathed from the motherload of vagina and penis jokes (the climactic one involving an actual circumcision). Some (like Malick and Camryn Manheim) should actually be ashamed of themselves since they have shown their abilities at comedy elsewhere. But the puerile script is the main problem, and no one in the cast or crew could have fixed that.

If Jewtopia’s premise sounds at all appealing, skip it and rent an episode of “Bridget Loves Bernie” instead.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

The Congress
Film Review: The Congress

Part live-action, part cornea-searing animation, this cinematic overload is ambitious but ultimately fatigues as it plays with the intriguing notion of a fading Hollywood star selling rights so her cyberspace avatar can rise to superstardom and stay forever young in virtual reality. Flashy animation and cynical stabs at celebrity culture and movie-studio finagling keep things lively for a while. More »

The Last of Robin Hood
Film Review: The Last of Robin Hood

Serviceable vehicle for a salacious story. More »

Last Weekend
Film Review: Last Weekend

A sort of modern Chekhovian study of family tensions over a country weekend, this indie drama is very pretty to look at and at times disarming, but needed more punch. More »

The Notebook
Film Review: The Notebook

An aloof adaptation of Agota Kristof's best-seller that's technically impressive but precludes audience identification. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Film Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Neither significantly better nor worse than its predecessor, the belated Sin City sequel is more of a repeat, rather than a continuation, of the original. More »

If I Stay
Film Review: If I Stay

Delivers as promised. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here