Evil Woman (2001), Cert 15.

Director - Dennis Dugan.

Writers - Hank Nelken & Greg DePaul.

Starring - Jason Biggs, Steve Zhan, Jack Black, Amanda Peet, Amanda Detmer & R. Lee Ermey.


Premise - Darren (Jason Biggs), Wayne (Steve Zhan) and J.D. (Jack Black) have been buddies since high school and being huge Neil Diamond fans they have their own tribute band. All three are pretty much losers in life and love, however when Darren falls for Judith (Amanda Peet) his buddies decide that she is the wrong woman for him. Promptly the employ the help of his old school sweetheart Sandy (Amanda Detmer) in order to save Darren from marrying the wrong girl who is systematically destroying their friendship, oh and their Neil Diamond tribute band.

Evil Woman was released in the USA under the moniker 'Saving Silverman'. Why the company decided to change the name is a mystery, but it may have something to do with the universally poor reviews and similarly poor box office returns. That said the name change didn't change anything over here as the film opened to universally poor reviews and similarly poor box office returns.

This is why I was less then enamored with the thought of watching the movie. I'm a huge Jack Black fan (Tenacious D are one of the best bands to hit rock music in recent memory), he single handily stopped both 'Orange County' and 'Shallow Hal' from being complete wastes of my time, but how could all these people be wrong?

Quite easily it would appear.

I found Evil Woman to be a very, very funny film. Also, unlike a lot of other comedies it manages to keep you laughing consistently throughout the films running time. IN many other films the laughs get cut short as the film moves forward, instead concentrating more on plot development. Evil Woman keeps the plot moving along nicely and manages to keep the laughs coming right up to the end credits.

So why did I find Evil Woman so funny? Three reasons, Jack Black, Steve Zhan and R. Lee Ermey.

As I said I'm a huge Jack Black fan, anything he's in gets my attention, no matter how derided it is in the media. His character here is similar to the one he played in Orange County. J.D. is a waster, with little in the way of intelligence who has never held down a steady job in his life. It's familiar ground for Black and he plays these kinds of roles effortlessly. I won’t ever get tired if seeing him play this shtick and just love the way he brings these roles to life. Also, keep an eye out for Kyle Gass (the other half of Tenacious D) in a hilarious cameo near the beginning of the film.

Steve Zhan is an actor that I have seen little of, but his work here is all the encouragement I need to seek out other films that boast his unique comic style. His comic timing is spot on and he provides a great line in physical comedy that I found just funny as hell. A scene with Zhan and a family of raccoons (trust me) had me busting a gut.

Everybody knows R. Lee Ermey is most famous for bringing Gunnery Sergeant Hartman to life in the masterpiece that is Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. There he was the badass drill instructor, whose job it was to mould podgy civilians into hard as nails fighting machines. Ermey brought that role to life and in Evil Woman he plays a kind of parody of Hartman. Imagine if Hartman had never gone into the marines? If he had somehow ended up as a high school gym teacher? Ermey's part in Evil Woman is basically Hartman, but without the ability to take out his temper on grunts. Ermey practically steals every scene that he has in the movie and he had me rolling about at points.

If these three actors provide all the laughs then it's Jason Biggs that fails the laughter exam. His role is exactly like the role he plays in every other film he's in. In 'American Pie', its squeal and in 'Loser' he plays the exact same geeky guy with a good heart. Mr. Biggs said it best himself in 'Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back' when he said, 'I will always be known as the guy who f***ed a pie'. Sorry Jason your right, you are a one trick pony and has been stereotyped. Also, most critically your routine stopped being funny about 5 minutes into American Pie 2. Time to think about picking some diverse roles before your career ends up on DTV row.

The two women that complete the main cast are likeable enough. Amanda Peet whom I remember most from being very naked in 'The Whole Nine Yards' is suitably cold and ruthless as the Evil Woman of the title. Whilst the other Amanda, Detmer is warm and approachable enough to be the high school sweetheart that J.D. and Wayne use to lure Darren from Judith's clutches. Neil Diamond also shows up in neat little cameo. I'm no fan of the mans music, but he seemed to be enjoying himself and has some good scenes.

I think the problem most people may have had with the film is that that it came along fairly late on in the surge of 'gross out' comedies that we saw recently. Viewers were most likely sick of seeing such films and acted accordingly with their wallets. It's a shame really as whilst you could file it under 'gross out' there isn't much in the way of that kind of humour. It's more a physical comedy and hopefully other people will eventually realise this and find themselves watching what is one of last years funniest films.



See Evil Woman if you enjoyed - Happy Texas (1999), There's Something About Mary (1999), Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (2001).

Poster Quote - Evil, like the fruits of the devil........