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SAY IT ISN'T SO

SYNOPSIS:
Gilly Noble (Chris Klein) is a poor but upstanding young man who works in an animal shelter in a small Indiana town. An adopted child, Gilly yearns to find his real family and hires a private detective to track them down. At the same time, he meets and falls in love with a beautiful though accident-prone hairdresser, Jo Wingfield (Heather Graham). Their romance blossoms despite the disapproval of Jo's mother Valdine (Sally Field) who has bigger plans for her daughter's future. But then one night when the couple are in bed together, Gilly receives terrible news - his biological mother is Valdine, meaning that Jo is his sister! Horrified, Jo leaves town without saying goodbye, while Gilly becomes the laughing stock of the community. Eighteen months later, Gilly discovers that Jo may not be his sister after all, and sets off to find her and win her back.

"Stupid, irreverent, childish and at times very funny, Say It Isn't So has plenty of Farrelly Brothers trademarks, but runs out of puff and ideas. It starts with a bang – or should I say a cut; in fact the opening 20 minutes are very, very funny. The ideas are wacky, often in bad taste with characters that are disabled, politically incorrect and stereotypical. The 'cut' is all about hair – pulling it, cutting it, waxing it. The set up of how Gilly Meets Jo is simply delicious. Anyone who has ever had concerns about their hairdresser and what could happen with those sharp scissors and comb will relate to this! Of course it's contrived and we don't really believe any of it, but there's a certain impishness and frivolous fun that is quite contagious. Apart from the two central characters, everyone else is well and truly over the top. Heather Graham looks gorgeous and plays the sweet, innocent with plenty of charm, but Chris Klein lacks the charisma and substance required to carry his role. Klein is a little young and bland for buxom Graham, whose sexual appeal needs to be countered by at least some chemistry. Sally Field is fabulously funny as the monster mum whose response to her wheelchair bound stroke-victim husband covered in bees is to go fetch her camera. Dig McCaffey is one cool dude as the hyper double amputee pilot, while Eddie Cibrian is smooth and convincing as Jo's handsome, millionaire husband to be. Yes there are cows, but it may not be appropriate here to go into the gross details of how these sacred beasts are violated. The cuttingly witty lines are far too few and half way through the film, it feels as though some new script writers should have been called in. But your enjoyment of Say It Isn't So is in part dependent on your mood. As long as you are not too demanding and feel able to forgive the script and floundering direction, it's bizarre enough in parts to have a giggle as you tap your toes to the upbeat soundtrack and chill out for a bit of farcical escapism."
Louise Keller

"The comic formula invented by Peter and Bobby Farrelly (There's Something About Mary, Dumb And Dumber) works by combining gross, ugly gags with seemingly genuine goodwill. Their films resemble big friendly dogs that jump all over you - full of masculine aggression, yet pleading to be liked. Say It Isn't So, which was produced by the Farrellys and directed by their associate J.B. Rogers, belongs to the same breed, though its humour feels more forced and less generous. If possible, it's even more crudely made than the Farrellys’ last effort, the ramshackle Me Myself And Irene: starting from the threat of accidental incest - an ancient comic device - it wanders all over the place, introducing far too many minor characters and setting up plot complications that never pay off. However outlandish their movies get, the Farrellys normally manage to generate some empathy for their dorky heroes and the down-to-earth girls they chase after. But it's hard to care much about this pair of good-looking, dim-witted mannequins: Keanu Reeves lookalike Chris Klein and glassy-eyed Heather Graham, a walking, talking Barbie doll. More weird than funny, Say It Isn't So often suggests a do-it-yourself David Lynch movie. Without the benefit of Lynch's art school craft and sensibility, the filmmakers instinctively recreate his characteristic world of freaks, cripples and kinky sex within a sunny all-American landscape. Lynch's trademark folksy surrealism appears in bits like a mental patient's obsession with pancakes, or a paralysed stroke victim being engulfed by bees; there's even a seeming homage to Blue Velvet in a scene involving a severed ear. Other Lynchian elements include the presence of Graham (a Twin Peaks regular), the densely forested Pacific Northwest setting, and the embarrassing shrillness of Sally Field - whose willingness to humiliate herself recalls Lynch's penchant for 'found' casting."
Jake Wilson

"We’ve all heard the Andy Warhol-derived expression 'famous for 15 minutes'. How about 'funny for 15 minutes'. That sums up this entry in the gross-out comedy stakes produced, but very significantly NOT written or directed by the Farrelly Brothers. It's hard to remember another film that starts so promisingly before dying such a terrible death even before the first reel change. The set-up is ripe for a bizarre boy-meets-then-loses-girl story and its sails along nicely up to the point of Gilly's disastrous dinner with Jo's white trash parents. Then in the blinking of an eye it disintegrates and there is nothing handsome and sincere Chris Klein and beautiful and charming Heather Graham can do to save the day as Rome burns amid a sea of cretinous jokes and disgusting sight gags. Is Gilly's moustache and beard disguise made out of pubic hair stolen from a beauty parlor waste bin really funny? How about the leering antics of Jack's subhuman henchmen who naturally have panty and polaroid fetishes? If you think so you might also revel in the pathetic jokes that dog poor Gilly once the whole town finds out he's had sex with his "sister" or Sally Field's scenery-chewing attempt to destroy her Gidget associations once and for all. There is good bad taste and bad bad taste. Say It Isn't So fits firmly into the latter category as it throws everything including the toilet bowl into a sad attempt to ape the kind of shenanigans only the Farrellys themselves can pull off successfully. The brothers must take responsibility here: it was their support that brought this mess, helmed by their long-serving assistant director J.B. Rogers, to the screen. I enjoy high-disgust factor humour as much as anyone but not when it's done without any cleverness or style - two vital ingredients missing in this ghastly concoction."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 2

See our interview with

Heather Graham

TRAILER

SAY IT ISN’T SO (M)
(US)

CAST: Chris Klein, Heather Graham, Orlando Jones, Sally Field

DIRECTOR: James B. Rogers

PRODUCER: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Bradley Thomas

SCRIPT: Peter Gaulke, Gerry Swallow

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mark Irwin

EDITOR: Larry Madaras

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sydney J. Bartholomew Jr.

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 12, 2001

VIDEO RELEASE: November 14, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment







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