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In defense of “Freddy Got Fingered.”

In defense of “Freddy Got Fingered.” (photo)

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If you thought Tom Green had disappeared off the face of the earth, fear not (or, alternately, quit celebrating): he’s back on the stand-up beat and has a new movie, “Prankstar,” that’s sitting there until he figures out what to do with it. This is terrific news, because — seriously — his 2001 film “Freddy Got Fingered” is one of the most underrated comedies of the decade.

Aside from its reputation as one of the worst-reviewed films in recent memory — its Metacritic score is 13 and Green’s loyal MTV audience was generally just as appalled once they hit the theater — “Freddy Got Fingered” has a small group of defenders (most notably the New York Times‘ A.O. Scott) who, according to Green, have steadily pushed DVD sales well into the black. He’d like to put out a director’s cut, inflating the running time from 85 minutes to around 110. I suspect that would dilute the impact — one of the great things about “Freddy” is its compression — but pleased on behalf of the film.

“Fingered” would probbly do at least a little better if it were released today. For one thing, the animated show Green’s character/stand-in Gord creates (“Zebras In America”) is full of the kind of deliberately abrasive non sequiturs and were-they-stoned? moments that typify the “Adult Swim” line-up; the idea of someone having a show like that now isn’t far-fetched at all.

02172010_aquateen.jpgThe bigger thing is that “Freddy” — widely misevaluated by lazy critics as a shoddy attempt to shock — is completely uninterested in what you’re comfortable with. It’s confrontational in a very real, near-avant-garde way that does everything but slice up a few eyeballs. And then it suckers you into thinking the movie has no emotional content before turning into a nakedly sincere story about Tom Green wishing his dad were nicer and more understand about his ambitions and work, complete with a last-act reconciliation and Green implicitly apologizing for all the horrible stuff he dragged his parents through on the show.

In its mixture of gross-outs and something approaching moral seriousness, then, Green approaches the second-wind directorial career of Bobcat Goldthwait, whose inelegant but probing “Sleeping Dogs Lie” and “World’s Greatest Dad” use seemingly juvenile premises to play around with deadly serious ethical problems. Hearteningly, critics mostly take him seriously.

Green didn’t quite get to the same level of thoughtfulness (or respect, obviously), but he does have goals besides a momentary startled laugh, and they’re obvious to anyone paying attention: “Freddy Got Fingered” wakes you up, makes you laugh and has a lot to say about fathers and sons to boot. If this attempt at restarting his career goes through, I hope more people will take the plunge.

[Photos: “Freddy Got Fingered,” 20th Century Fox, 2001; “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” Cartoon Network, 2000-present]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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