Optics: Farce of the Penguins

By Ryan Pike

Back in 2005, moviegoers were transfixed by a documentary about emperor penguins making an arduous journey to their mating grounds. Filmed over the course of a year by director Luc Jacquet, March of the Penguins won the Academy Award for feature-length documentary and spawned a series of unrelated films about penguins. Some of these films, like Happy Feet, were charming in a kitschy way, at the very least. Farce of the Penguins is almost entirely devoid of any redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Written and directed by Bob Saget, Farce of the Penguins takes stock footage of penguins walking and edits it to make it seem like the penguins are talking. Dubbed over the footage is some of the most god-awful dialogue in recent memory and a plot combining the worst possible elements of the romantic comedy genre, as two penguins walk to their mating grounds, swear and talk about penguin sex. At their destination await a bunch of female penguins, who spend the duration standing around and talking about stupid shit.

Despite how awesome penguins are, Farce kills the novelty off quickly. The result is 80 minutes of listening to Bob Saget and Lewis Black performing terrible dialogue, with frequent cutaways to uninspired, unfunny gags. Tying the whole debacle together is the phoned-in narration of Samuel L. Jackson. While hearing Jackson swearing is always fun, the writing is so terrible that listening to him becomes a chore. That Farce destroys the comedic value of Samuel L. Jackson, penguins and swearing all at once speaks volumes about the quality of the screenplay, which was likely written in crayon on a cocktail napkin several minutes before the deadline. Just like this review.

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