There are doubtless many people who are able to appreciate Freddy Got Fingered. I am not one of them.
The directorial debut of one Tom Green, the film is ostensibly the story of Gordy (played by Green), an aspiring cartoonist who evidently suffers from extremely poor impulse control and an almost pathological, even deliberate, lack of propriety. He has made a life of irritating his evidently perpetually put-upon parents (Julie Hagerty and Rip Torn), who seem thrilled to finally get him out of the house as he embarks on a road trip to LA in hopes of starting a career as an animator.
That sounds like the foundation of a not-particularly-original coming-of-age comedy, the goals of which Freddy Got Fingered intends (at least I think so) to entirely subvert by way of utterly random absurdist nonsense. This movie isn’t interested in telling a story, creating relatable or realistic characters or even hewing to any idea, conventional or un-, of a comedic narrative.
And that’s fine.
But I don’t have to like it.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate Freddy Got Fingered because of some hifalutin idea of what a comedy is “supposed” to be. It just so happens that Tom Green’s brand of humor is like kryptonite to me.
Take an early scene in which Gordy comes across a roadkill deer on his way from Portland to LA. Next we’re treated to what felt like five or six excruciating minutes during which Gordy eviscerates the animal and wears its carcass. He dances around on the deserted pavement, shouting phrases like “Now I’m stinky!” and putting pieces of deer guts in his mouth. Again, I do not mean to suggest that this is objectively unfunny, merely that I found it supremely irritating.
In another scene, Gordy, working in a cheese sandwich factory (OK, points for that one funny idea), just gets up on the conveyor belt and starts accosting the other workers, screaming at them, interrupting their work, and generally being a nuisance. If I had to work with this guy in real life I would gleefully beat him to death with a garden hose full of beebees. I would also film this act and present it as a groundbreaking form of anti-comedy.
I have no tolerance for this sort of bullshit, which I suspect is entirely the point. I suppose I am exactly the kind of person Green delights in exasperating, and I further suppose that my seething hatred for it would delight him even more, which in turn exacerbates my irrational rage.
There’s a subplot about Gordy’s romance with a wheelchair-bound woman (Marisa Coughlin), who apparently has no interest in Gordy beyond her desire to suck his cock. Okay, whatever. I’m not sure if this is meant to be merely another absurd detour in place of some boring, conventional story arc or if it’s just another goof, but either way who cares?
What about Gordy’s strained (to say the least) relationship with his father? Rip Torn does an admirable job depicting his completely justified disgust for his son. By the time the title’s meaning becomes clear (Gordy accuses his father of sexually assaulting his younger brother) it’s possible (though not necessarily likely) that I was meant to feel sad for these two men, so unable to reach each other despite the bonds of family, but mostly I rooted for Torn every time he took a swing at this awful piece of shit he conceived.
Freddy Got Fingered transcends both humor and taste. If I attack it purely on the subjective basis of being unfunny, I sound like some grumpy old codger. If I attack its loose (to say the least) structure, I am somehow ignoring its deliberate attempts to sabotage any “normal” idea of comedy. In short, this is a lose-lose proposition. I can only emphatically state that I loathed every minute of this film.