‘Jewtopia’: an unfunny comedy

Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ivan Sergei star in Jewtopia. (Photo courtesy Le Petit Canyon Productions)
Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ivan Sergei star in Jewtopia. (Photo courtesy Le Petit Canyon Productions)

Ouch. A couple minutes into Jewtopia, the film adaptation of the off-Broadway show of the same name, a Jewish college girl is portrayed as an unrealistic control freak who makes every decision for her boyfriend. She chooses his friends, picks his meals, makes sure his grades stay intact and eventually breaks up with him on graduation day because he’s not Jewish.

Jewtopia is the directorial debut of Bryan Fogel, who co-wrote the off-Broadway play and the best-selling book, Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People, with Sam Wolfson. Fogel’s original play, which first debuted in Los Angeles in 2003, was hugely successful and stands as one the longest running shows in off-Broadway history. The film adaptation is not likely to achieve equal success.

This excruciatingly unfunny “comedy” revolves around Christian (Ivan Sergei), a handsome and dim-witted Christian-raised (get it?) guy who has a fetish for Jewish girls. He wants to marry a Jew so he won’t have to make another decision for the rest of his life. His words, not mine. While on the hunt at a Jewish singles mixer, Christian meets the attractive Allison (Jennifer Love Hewitt). In an attempt to woo her, he comes up with the fake Jewish identity of Dr. Avi Rosenberg, because in the movie’s universe, all Jewish names sound like this.

After he’s gotten himself into this pickle, Christian enlists his Jewish childhood best friend Adam (Joel David Moore) to teach him how to be the “perfect Jew” so he can impress Allison. For some inexplicable reason, Adam is the only Jew Christian knows despite living in Los Angeles.


Adam is unhappily engaged to the nightmarish Hannah (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), a spoiled Jewish bride who’s already prepping a baby room when she isn’t pregnant yet. In other words, Christian wants what Adam has and Adam wants out. Sounds like a typical romantic comedy, right? What follows is a seemingly endless string of very outdated jokes on Jewish stereotypes that turn this movie into an offensive farce. Actually, this movie is so terrible it’s not even worth calling offensive.

A great example of the movie’s essence is when Adam gives Christian his “how-to-bea- Jew” tutorial. Christian, who’s already quite unlikable, takes Allison on a date to a fancy restaurant where he proceeds to put Adam’s lessons into practice. After ordering a highly specific meal that’s not on the menu, he takes one bite and sends it back. Because this is what most Jews at restaurants do, right? And most Jewish girls have “Jew beaks,” control issues and love Volvos, right? Apparently Fogel thinks so, as these quips are used throughout this unbearable movie.

Jewtopia is much like your typical vulgar American comedy, but it’s in no way, shape or form funny. It definitely tries, forcefully, to make you laugh. In doing so it manages to insult Jews, Christians, Latinos, Jamaicans, Mongolians, homosexuals, and basically everyone on the planet. e entire premise of the movie is nonsensical, with its only commendable factor being the actors’ commitment to their unlikable characters.

The all-star cast also includes Jon Lovitz and Rita Wilson as Adam’s cooky parents, Nicolette Sheridan and Peter Stormare as Christian’s stereotypical Southern parents, Philip Rosenthal as Allison’s rabbi father and Wendie Malick as her controlling mother, and Tom Arnold and Camryn Manheim as Hannah’s vile parents. All of these well-known actors commit, and it’s unfortunate because what they commit to is just painful to watch.

By the end of the movie, it seems Fogel may have wanted to promote intercultural and interfaith acceptance. While his intentions were possibly sincere, an hour-and-a-half of unpleasant stereotype jokes, close-ups of private-part diagrams and numerous situations involving fecal matter and mental illnesses may not have been the best way to get that message across.

Jewtopia is not rated and contains strong language and sexual innuendo. It’s currently available on various video on demand services and in select U.S. theaters.

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