If you’ve never heard of the play that inspired the film, no one could blame you for having a little bit of apprehension heading into a film called Jewtopia. The film’s name alone makes you wonder if it’s going to be an incredibly offensive onslaught of anti-semitic one-liners or a comedy created by and knowingly winking at anyone who’s ever lived or observed Jewish life in America. It’s a comedy staple that’s become increasingly common over the years, with the guilt-tripping mothers, a mandatory career path of lawyer, doctor, or media mogul, and many other overly familiar stereotypes. Jewtopia plays them all up, but in a way that’s simultaneously repetitive and fresh. It doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the best performances for Joel David Moore or Ivan Sergei, or that they’re backed by Tom Arnold, Jon Lovitz, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Christine Lakin, Wendie Malick, Peter Stormare, and Jamie-Lynn Sigler.
As kids, oddball asthmatic Jewish kid Adam Lipschitz (Moore) and red-blooded redneck boy Christian became unlikely friends until the latter’s father (Stormare) relocated and they grew apart. Some 20-years later, the two find themselves living nearby, and it turns out that both of them are in desperate need of help. Christian, reeling from a breakup with his last Jewish girlfriend because, in the real world, a Jewish lady “must” marry a Jewish man, wants to find himself a nice Jewish girl who he can marry so she can make all of his choices for him for the rest of his life. That’s not an easy task though considering he’s not Jewish but he is a plumber, a profession few women, of any sort, are all that enamored with. Adam, on the other hand, is trying to escape the very fate Christian is trying to secure for himself: he’s engaged to high-maintenance and incredibly controlling Jewish gynecologist (Sigler) who drives him insane. Christian seeks out Adam’s help to teach him how to be Jewish so he can make his recent acquaintance, Allison (Hewitt) fall in love with him, and in the process Adam begins to reconsider the life he’s heading towards.
While I’m sure there are many in-jokes that went over my head, Jewtopia still manages to surprise with quite a few laughs along with bits of comforting nostalgic turns from the likes of Lovitz, Malick, and the rest. Jewtopia amounts to a good, solid comedy that, while predictable, at least manages to hit its mark most of the time.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
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"Jewtopia" is on sale February 11, 2014 and is not rated. Comedy. Directed by Bryan Fogel. Written by Bryan Fogel, Sam Wolfson. Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Joel David Moore, Peter Stormare, Tom Arnold, Wendie Malick, Ivan Sergei, Jamie Lynn Sigler.