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Jewtopia (review)

Review by Caitlyn Thompson

The description of this movie has been that it is about “Jewish people and Jewish problems.”  Really it’s about a dopey redneck who “doesn’t want to make another decision for the rest of his life,” so he proceeds to enlist his childhood Jewish friend to help him act as Jew-y as possible.

The goal – win over a nice Jewish girl he has just met after 9 years of moping over his college girlfriend.

Now I was raised Jewish and can appreciate the stereotypical jokes about the culture: Jewish guilt, overbearing tendencies, bossy over-preparedness, awkwardness, the insistence on finding a Jewish spouse, etc.

At first, Jewtopia is funny but pretty quickly gets repetitive and boring.

Ivan Sergei plays Christian O’Connell, not a Jew. He’s described as a “gentile” by his very, anxiety ridden, panic-attack prone friend, Adam Lipschitz, played by Joel David Moore – liked him better as a dorky scientist in Avatar.

Christian is supposed to be endearing but he’s a big doof. His delivery isn’t charming, just over-acted and tiresome. After nearly a decade of whining about his ex he decides the first Jewish girl he meets, Allison Marks (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is the woman he wants to be with forever.

Shouldn’t the chemistry have built a little? Their first date is spoiled for us because we were given the entire tutorial by Adam and Christian just one scene before. This is where the film fell weak.

Repetition.

The jokes get tired and are forced.

Every line muttered is supposed to be hilarious and it ends up being too oversaturated.

It’s too silly.

 Jamie-Lynn Sigler’s character is a prime example of such activity. She plays Adam’s smothering, controlling fiancé, Hannah and is insane. She’s a gynecologist, her parents are gynecologists, they are judgmental of her decisions about gynecological diagnoses at the dinner table, etc etc. 

There is no depth or subtly which is important when making movies that center around cultural stereotypes of any kind. Offensive or not, if they ring true subtly, there’s potential for hilarious characters to build a story. Great example of such subtly is featured in Netflix show, Orange is the New Black. Larry’s parents are gems.

The Jewtopia cast is filled with big names, such as Rita Wilson, Jon Lovitz, and Tom Arnold, but they don’t shine. They all start off likeable and funny – it’s supposed to be a silly movie after all. – but they, along with the rest of the characters, devolve into overly dramatic caricatures that are annoying and unrealistic.

The humorous intention of the film gets old so the plot escalates until it’s ridiculously unbelievable and no longer entertaining. Then everyone lives happily ever after although continuously kvetching.

If you’re in the mood for goofy over-the-top silly, occasionally raunchy humor, and are familiar with Jewish stereotypes, I think you might be entertained, but only slightly.

I personally think it’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding done very wrong.

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