Freddy Got Fingered, from writer-director-star Tom Green, is like an episode of MTV’s The Tom Green Show stretched to feature length, and not without a struggle. Bits are recycled, including Green sucking a cow’s udder. But he also jerks off a horse and an elephant, swings a baby around by its umbilical cord — oh, the blood! — and bruises himself and a pal on a handmade skateboard ramp full of ragged edges and jutting nails.
Being ragged and slightly dangerous is part of Green’s comic charm (his bit with the snake in Road Trip was a howl). What’s troubling about this movie — a spin on Green’s life — is that it feels manufactured to be suitable for mass consumption. As Green’s twentysomething character, Gord, attempts to grow up and out of the family basement — Rip Torn and Julie Hagerty play his beleaguered parents — and find a job as an animator (think Beavis and Butthead go to South Park), the gross-out routines arrive like a medley of Green’s greatest hits. Gord spazzes out in an interview with a TV exec (nicely done by Anthony Michael Hall), attacks the exec’s assistant (a cameo from Green fiancee Drew Barrymore) and accuses his daddy of child molestation. Gord says dad used to finger his little brother, Freddy (Eddie Kaye Thomas), now a banker — a false charge that prompts dad to pull off his pants and demand that Gord fuck him in the ass (not a pretty moment in Torn’s screen career). To spice up the familiar gags, Green resorts to the pain thing. Gord dates a disabled blonde (Marisa Coughlan) in a rocket-fueled wheelchair who offers a blow job if he brings her to orgasm by caning her paralyzed legs with a stick of bamboo until they blister with feeling. To see Green thwacking away at those lifeless limbs is to witness an act of desperation symptomatic of the film. Shock comedy, be it Porky’s or Dumb and Dumber, has made us all victims of gross-out overkill. Green has to work harder to catch us off guard — not just to top himself but to avoid looking old-hat in the Jackass era. You can see Green sweating for effect, ratcheting up the cruel jokes just to keep his street cred as a comic provocateur. It’s not working.