Sarah Silverman Jesus Is Magic


 

 


 

This was the official website for the 2005 performance film, Sarah Silverman Jesus Is Magic. The movie is a concert film consisting of 72 minutes worth of clips taken from Silverman's previous Broadway stand-up show with the same name, interspersed with flashbacks, and musical performances.
Content is from the site's archived pages as well as from outside review sources.



Sarah Silverman Jesus Is Magic

Comedian Sarah Silverman brings her patent, no-holds-barred humor to the stage in this performance film. Based almost entirely on Silverman's successful show of the same name which appeared on Broadway and generated considerable buzz, the movie blends stand-up with prerecorded sketches and even some musical performances. For Silverman, seemingly no topic is off-limits, as she squeezes jokes out of subjects including rape, the Holocaust, and Sept. 11.

 

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer CRITICS  64%  |  AUDIENCE 64%

The film comprises Sarah Silverman's performance before a live audience interwoven with stylish musical numbers and backstage intrigue. Comedians Bob Odenkirk and Brian Posehn also make appearances along with Silverman's band, The Silver Men. Known as one of the funniest and most provocative people in comedy, Silverman has been compared to the legendary Lenny Bruce. Despite the current political climate, she takes on such pitch-black topics as September 11th, unwanted body hair and the Holocaust and spins them into decidedly un-PC comedic gold.

Rating: R (Language)
Genre: Comedy, Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:    Liam Lynch
In Theaters:     Nov 11, 2005  Limited
On Disc/Streaming:    Jun 6, 2006
Box Office:      $1,206,252
Runtime:         72 minutes
Studio: Roadside Attractions

 

CRITICS REVIEWS

Not to everyone's taste but her legions of internet fans won't be disappointed. Anyone who can come up with a line like 'I don't care if you think I'm a racist, I just want you to think I'm thin,' is okay in our books.
August 1, 2008 | Rating: 4/6
Tim Arthur  / Time Out / Top Critic

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Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic
There are no miracles in Silverman's stage show
Published Friday, December 9, 2005
Rating: 1.5/4
Bruce Westbrook / Houston Chronicle /  Top Critic

Perhaps to know Sarah Silverman is to love her. As it is, she's almost unknown beyond late-night talk shows and minor acting gigs for TV (Greg the Bunny) and films (School of Rock).

For most, her stage persona as comedienne is a bold new world. It's also an acquired taste at best, since Silverman comes across as a racist, callous diva in Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic.

Peppered by musical interludes and encounters with fictional friends, the film is largely a showcase for her stand-up act during a seven-day run at a Hollywood theater. There, her fans laugh like an undiscriminating audience for a broad sitcom, even when the material is bad.

Mostly it's bad, not because it's insensitive — PC-bashing remains fair game — but because it's mean-spirited and rarely witty. Silverman's arrogant self-absorption is supposed to play as nutty narcissim, and her clueless intolerance as off-key outspokenness, but in truth she's no one you'd want to meet, much less join in laughter.

The film's title stems from a rant about religion. The Jewish Silverman repeatedly refers to her boyfriend (while never identifying him as talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel), who's Catholic. If they have offspring, she says, they'll be truthful about religion. They'll tell the kids Mom is one of "the chosen few" while Dad believes "Jesus is magic," because of biblical miracles she derides.
Silverman then blames Christ's crucifixion not on Jews or Romans but "the blacks," yet says she'd gladly accept responsibility and "do it again."

She also finds high humor in the Holocaust (her grandmother had a "vanity number" tattooed on her arm), 9/11 (American Airlines should advertise they were "first through the towers") and starving African babies' protruding stomachs, which she mistakes as a sign of pregnancy. "The best time to have a baby is when you're a black teenager," Silverman quips.

Silverman declares that her material is meant to be provocative and edgy, but shock value takes a joke only so far, especially if it doesn't have a self-effacing slant or undercurrent of humanity. Nor can Silverman get off the hook as a so-called "equal opportunity offender," since her targets are so consistent.

Other gags include a bit about exhuming her 97-year-old grandmother in hopes of finding evidence that she was raped. Silverman says she was once raped by a doctor, "which is a bittersweet experience for a Jewish girl." That joke almost works, not because it's so clear that she's joking but because, for once, she pokes merciless fun at herself.

Given the banal depths of her standup act, the show's music is a refreshing departure. In cutaways to canned segments, Silverman wears colorful costumes and sings brisk pop-rock in zany performances outside the box of the theater. Though her lyrics are stunted by stereotypes and hateful affronts, at least the songs open up a stale film that needs airing out.

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Silverman's stand-up saves an uneven 'Jesus is Magic'
December 6, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
Wesley Morris  / Boston Globe / Top Critic
What's bewitching and dangerous about the comedian Sarah Silverman is that she can turn a joke inside out until it's no longer clear where the punch line is or, for that matter, where the joke even began.

This is what gave her notorious bit in ''The Aristocrats" -- she reclines on a couch and claims an aging TV host raped her -- such a whiff of voodoo. She played it straight, and it was disturbing.

Silverman turns 35 next month, but to pull this material off, she performs like a pampered teen who's entertaining her friends at the mall food court.

In her new film, ''Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic," when she says, ''I don't care if you think I'm a racist, I just want you to think I'm thin," she sounds both narcissistic and aloof, self-absorbed and oblivious.

The same goes for the movie, too -- often hilariously, sometimes not.

''Jesus Is Magic" consists of Silverman's stand-up act, an arbitrary collection of nasty thoughts about everything from her boyfriend to racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia. The most uproarious of her remarks can't be reprinted in a family newspaper, but in her universe, those isms have a surreal and curiously piquant everydayness.

Silverman's abrasive material is funny because her approach is friendly. She encourages her niece to be competitive in life: ''Every time you lose at tag an angel gets AIDS," she enthuses. She's an even more upbeat racist: ''And by J.A.P.," she says, ''I mean Japanese."

The anecdote to which that line is attached and other of her observations are interrupted by a handful of skits and sketches. The interludes are nonsense filler that stretch the movie beyond the one-hour mark and leave us underwhelmed by the talent of Silverman's director, Liam Lynch. But they do feature her comedian friends, such as Bob Odenkirk and Brian Posehn.

A few of the interruptions are done as music-video numbers in which Silverman tries to carry a tune in different genres. In one, she shows up at a nursing home to perform a folky song whose most memorable line is ''You're gonna die soon."

This packaged material frequently threatens to cancel out the strength of her live routine because it's self-indulgent, which would be tolerable if it were funny, too. The juxtaposition between that canned stuff and what she's up to on stage offers Silverman in more than one mode, and ''Jesus Is Magic" often feels like the comedian throwing her selves at the wall and hoping a few of them stick.

On stage, the conventions of stand-up comedy change the stakes of Silverman's unique approach. She's crafty about meeting the joke-punch-line obligations to her audience, but she is always more compelling when she's found a way to subvert them.

In ''Jesus Is Magic," she pulls this off when she discusses sex and her body. Silverman can talk flippantly about a subject as a grave as rape without removing the horror of the transgression. The joke is not just in the act itself but in her devastated sense of irony. On those occasions, the clever blunt-instrument aspect of her comedy works. You can see the daring in her dare.

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December 9, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
Lisa Kennedy / Denver Post / Top Critic
Jesus Is Magic is the second part of the title of comic Sarah Silverman's very funny, very wrong movie, which weaves wacky musical numbers and odd backstage moments with an L.A. performance of her one-woman show.

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Roger Ebert
November 10, 2005   |   1
"Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic" is a movie that filled me with an urgent desire to see Sarah Silverman in a different movie. I liked everything about it except the writing, the direction, the editing and the lack of a parent or adult guardian. There should have been somebody to stand up sadly after the first screening and say, "Sarah, honey, this isn't the movie you want people to see. Your material needs a lot of work, the musical scenes are deadly, except for the first one. And it looks like it was edited by someone fooling around with iMovie on a borrowed Macintosh."
Apparently the only person capable of telling Sarah Silverman such things is Sarah Silverman, and she obviously did not. Maybe the scene of her kissing herself in the mirror provides a clue. The result is a film that is going to make it hard to get people to come to the second Sarah Silverman film. Too bad, because Silverman is smart, funny and blindsides you with unexpected U-turns. She could be the instrument for abrasive and transgressive humor that would slice through the comedy club crap. But here, she isn't.

You have seen her before. She started in "Saturday Night Live" and has been in 15 movies and a lot of TV shows. She's tall, brunette and good-looking, and she says shocking things with the precise enunciation and poise of a girl who was brought up knowing how to make a good impression. The disconnect between what she says and how she says it is part of the effect. If she were crass and vulgar, her material would be insupportable: If you're going to use cancer, AIDS and 9/11 as punch lines, you'd better know how to get the permission of the audience. She does it by seeming to be too well-bred to realize what she's saying. She's always correcting herself. When she uses the word retards she immediately registers that it's non-PC and elaborates: "When I say 'retards,' I mean they can do anything."

So that's one of her lines. It would be a cheap shot for me to quote a dozen more, and do her act here in the review. Better to stand back and see why she's funny but the movie doesn't work. The first problem is with timing. None of her riffs go on long enough to build. She gets a laugh, and then another one, maybe a third, and then she starts in a different direction. We want her to keep on, piling one offense on top of another. We want to see her on a roll.
But what's with the scene where she entertains the old folks at her grandma's rest home by singing a song telling them they will all die, soon? She is rescued by the apparent oblivion of the old folks, who seem so disconnected she could be working in blue screen. Then there's the scene where she angrily shakes the corpse of her grandmother in its casket. Here is a bulletin from the real world: Something like that is not intrinsically funny. Yes, you can probably find a way to set it up and write it to make it funny, but to simply do it, just plain do it, is pathetic. The audience, which has been laughing, grows watchful and sad.

To discuss the film's editing rhythm is to suggest it has one. There are artless and abrupt cuts between different kinds of material. She's on the stage, and then she's at the nursing home. There is a way to make that transition, but it doesn't involve a cut that feels like she was interrupted in the middle of something. And the ending comes abruptly, without any kind of acceleration and triumph in the material. Her act feels cut off at the knees. The running time, 70 minutes including end credits, is interesting, since if you subtract the offstage scenes that means we see less of her than a live audience would.

Now if Silverman had been ungifted or her material had lacked all humor, I would maybe not have bothered with a review. Why kick a movie when it's down? But she has a real talent, and she is sometimes very funny in a way that is particularly her own. Now she needs to work with a writer (not to provide the material but to shape and pace it), and a director who can build a scene, and an editor who can get her out of it, and a producer who can provide wise counsel. On the basis of this movie, it will be her first exposure as a filmmaker to anyone like that.



 

AUDIENCE REVIEWS

 

***** Kenny C
July 4, 2007
Hilarious. Sarah Silverman is a modern Lenny Bruce, but much prettier.

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***** Joe H
July 4, 2007
Everyone's favorite Jew-girl. I worship her.

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½*robert c
July 4, 2007
fucking jesus is a cunt

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***** James S
July 4, 2007
She is a goddess. Her comedy is not for everyone, but its definately right up my alley. Everyone should watch this that is open minded and not easily offended. If you liek Stella, or Wet Hot AMerican Summer, watch this....now.

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*** wladiwotz
Hunter W
July 3, 2007
Jesus really is magic

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KeeganTaylor
Keegan T
July 3, 2007
Jesus is Holy not Magic

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**** Private U
July 2, 2007
i'm addicted to her show on comedy central and this is nothing but comic gold. she says what you all are thinking but would never say.....except for me if you know me you know i will say it too.

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***** Jay N
July 2, 2007
I F@#ing love Sarah Silverman.

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***** Joshua H
July 2, 2007
Greatest female comic of her time thus far!

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***½ Steven W
July 2, 2007
The first time i watched this film i was laughing my ass off. The second time, as much as a fan i am of Sarah's work, i suggest it be watched with friends who haven't seen it before. This movie is definately one that is a stand up act. I show it to all of my friends and they never stop talking about it.

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***** John W
July 1, 2007
Sarah Silverman is the funniest human living. She gets to go on my list for girls I'd go straight for. If you watch this movie, you'll be quoting it for months.

 

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*½ Jason R
June 30, 2007
I know I'm going to take shit for this... but other than her four or five killer lines, she's not that great. SS is *not* magic.

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Gabbie L
½ June 30, 2007
Sorta cheesy but I love it. Sarah comes up with the funniest lines!

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**** Private U
June 29, 2007
Oh man, every bit as funny as I hoped it was, but is a lot shorter than I like. But whatever, she left me on a high note. I don't know how she does it, somtimes her jokes aren't even clever, but when she delivers it, I commence a giggle explosion!

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**½ Sean F
June 28, 2007
Sarah's funny, but this film isn't. Terribly paced and edited, with excruciating musical performances.

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**** Deven M
June 28, 2007
when life hands you aids, make lemon-aids

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**** Kate T
June 28, 2007
Sarah Silverman is magic. Or Jesus. Whichever.

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*** Cindy F
June 27, 2007
Sarah is funny and says the things you're not supposed to say outloud. But this isn't a movie. It's an hour of stand-up with intermittent sketches.

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**** Joe F
June 27, 2007
Sarah Silverman is magic!

 

 

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