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

Tracks
Film Review: Tracks

Ably supported by Adam Driver, Mia Wasikowska commands the screen in John Curran’s superbly photographed drama based on a true story. More »

Hollidaysburg
Film Review: Hollidaysburg

Well-observed, empathetic look at friends reuniting over their first college break. More »

The Zero Theorem
Film Review: The Zero Theorem

A noisy, hyperkinetic, visually gorgeous spectacle that tackles the mother of all big questions–the meaning of life—Terry Gilliam's latest is sometimes frustrating and occasionally outright goofy, but it's never dull. More »

Art and Craft
Film Review: Art and Craft

Documentary portrait of the artist as a disturbed man, but one who is overwhelmingly endearing, functioning and talented—and whose métier happens to be art forgery. This smartly produced and constructed art-themed art-house entry delivers a canvas of caper, comedy and delightful curiosities that engage and provoke some serious thought. Like the hero’s forgeries, it deserves a close look. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

The Maze Runner
Film Review: The Maze Runner

Youths try to break out of a deadly maze in the latest young-adult doomsday thriller. More »

This is Where I Leave You
Film Review: This Is Where I Leave You

Siblings bond, fight and face new problems after the death of their father in an ensemble dramedy based on the best-selling novel. 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