Farce of the Penguins Review
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It’s the same thing every year for the penguins in Antarctica. The males march 70 miles to eat before marching another 70 miles, back to where the females are anxiously awaiting their return. They mate, the females lay the eggs, and the males sit on the eggs while the females march the same 70 miles to eat and back. Perhaps you’ve heard the story before in another penguin movie.

Samuel L. Jackson narrates this stock-footage-only mockumentary about Carl (voiced by writer/director Bob Saget) and Jimmy (Lewis Black), two penguins on their annual journey to find food—and love. As they make their 140-mile round-trip to eat, Carl questions their annual rituals. Why do they make this journey every year? What’s the point? And, at the same time, he wonders if he’ll ever find his One True Love—the female penguin who will love him and never leave him (except when she has to eat). Jimmy, on the other hand, has no problem with the arrangement. “We walk, we eat, we get laid,” he tells Carl. That’s just the way it is.

Meanwhile, back at the breeding grounds, Vicky (Mo’Nique) and Melissa (Christina Applegate) wait for the males to return. Vicky is looking forward to getting a little action, but after years of meeting men who only want one thing, Melissa just wants to settle down with the right guy.

Though it may look like a cute, animated penguin movie, Farce of the Penguins isn’t for kids. It’s not Full House or America’s Funniest Home Videos. It’s Bob Saget’s classic, surprisingly crude humor—pretty much all of which revolves around sex (and, occasionally, fart jokes). Think of it as Animal Planet meets American Pie.

The concept of Farce of the Penguins is priceless. There isn’t a single shot of original photography used. It’s all stock photography, pieced together and worked into a script that’s voiced by just about everyone in Hollywood (or at least those who owed Bob Saget a favor). There’s no fancy animation, no special effects. While I definitely appreciate the creativity behind it, though, the story is pretty rough. Some of the jokes get really old after a while—and the 80-minute movie could have easily ended after 60.

While there are some great parts to Farce of the Penguins (like the penguins who wander off and end up victims of Global Warming—or Juan Sanchez, the penguin who loses his mind and goes off on an adventure), watching it often feels like being on the outside of a very detailed inside joke. Though I’m sure it was really funny in the studio—when everyone was hanging around, recording the voices—it’s pretty clear that you just had to be there to appreciate parts of it. So the best part of the DVD is actually the making-of feature, which shows the voice talent in the studio, recording their parts. That made me laugh out loud more than the movie itself did.

Farce of the Penguins isn’t for everyone. In fact, it’s probably not for most people. But for fans of Saget’s crude humor, it’s good for a few laughs—especially if you polish off a few drinks before watching it.

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