Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic (2005)

Jesus_is_MagicAt some point, within the tirade of racial jokes Silverman willingly passes, and within the admissions of peeing in her bed, and having unusual body hair, you have to wonder. If she was an ugly utterly huge woman, would we be okay with this? If a heavy woman went on stage and said “I pooed a little,” would we still laugh? It just seems that just because Sarah Silverman is basically good looking, it’s okay to say this stuff, and get out of jail free because—well, she’s hot. And in some way, she seems to know this, and that’s why instead of groaning, the audience simply laughs. I like Sarah Silverman. She’s funny, quick with the put downs, and is very pretty, but “Jesus is Magic” is an uneven balance of skits, musical numbers and stand up comedy, neither of which as uproarious as I would have wished and hoped for.

Perhaps it just takes a certain kind of audience to understand this film, as all comedians have their niche following, but I just found it all so flat. Especially the musical numbers. Silverman doesn’t take herself seriously, she doesn’t seem vain, and she has a pretty voice, then why does the number “You’re Dying” come off so utterly bland, even in the face of her pig tails and evident charisma? She mocks how using certain jokes would make her sound “edgy,” but she seems to be drowning in her own irony. She just blurts out anything to gauge audience laughter and be deemed outrageous! Using Chinks, Nigger, and calling midgets midget’s really feels like Silverman is anxious for a laugh. And she’s anxious for controversy, because people these days are pussies, and they’ll cry about anything, a la bad (read good) publicity.

Take for example her point that strippers should be role models for little girls, and, her rather dull exploration of her boyfriend dumping her being accused on his low self-esteem. “Jesus is Magic” really isn’t anything new, and that’s why it’s so damn disappointing. Silverman insists on singing every ten minutes, Silverman insists on bringing up race for no particular reason, and Silverman goes for many fail safe’s. Lesbians, black people, the Holocaust, the Nazis, and even recruiting her comedian friends to appear every so often, it’s reaching. And that’s sad, because Silverman is great. She’s hilarious, she knows how to put folks to shame with her insults, but she can’t quite grasp what she wants with “Jesus is Magic.”

She wants to be vulnerable and vulgar, likable and disgusting, and it shows as she shoots out a race joke and then apologetically harps on it, and then we cut to rather odd skits that pretty much aren’t funny when Silverman repeats them again on-stage. Silverman can never stick to one formula long enough to make “Jesus is Magic” feel cohesive and coherent. So, it’s uneven, pretty unfunny, and just a waste of seventy-five minutes. I love racist jokes, I love poo jokes, and hell I love a good song or two… seriously. But damn, Sarah Silverman just didn’t know what she wanted with “Jesus is Magic,” and it shows. It’s a brutally disappointing and unfunny movie for such a hilarious woman.