Dairy Tales


A shaggy, appealing parable involving two lovers, some gorgeous heifers, gentle Maori gangster-golfers, and a dilapidated suitcase packed with used baby shoes, The Price of Milk throws itself onto the magic-realist sword with aplomb. The bewitching visuals float a gnarly fairy-tale plot. Lucinda (Danielle Cormack), in an effort to spice up her too idyllic union with dairyman Rob (Karl Urban), trades away his cows to get her stolen quilt back, thus triggering a succession of heavy romantic foibles, dream spurts, and odd graphic puns: A bathtub fills with Lucinda’s tears in an open grazing field; a woman peers through a window while her true love walks in place, his heart braking him.

The Price of Milk skirts cute by a hair’s breadth—the only liability, really, is a floaty, rarefied musical score. Cormack, a frizzy, pneumatic spin on Bridget Fonda, mediates Price‘s madness; within the flaky landscapes beats a quilted and raggedy heart, and it’s difficult not to be touched by Rob and Lucinda boomeranging back into each others’ loving arms.

More surreal is Saving Silverman, a sharp-dumb, jack- and goof-off affair. Despite an early, zesty deluge of gags (an old man is pantsed; a cheerleader’s pantied crotch shines on the title character), it soon settles down to an anxious man-a-thon. The story involves a devil-girl psychiatrist, Judith (Amanda Peet), who takes a guy away from his childhood friends, and said friends attempt to take back his dick and return it to his first love, a blond would-be nun (Amanda Detmer).

As the villain, Peet clearly wields the brains to harness Jack Black, Steve Zahn, and Jason Biggs, this movie’s decentered male threesome. They spot her early on in a TGI Friday’s: She’s clad in red, reading a red book with a gleaming (though unlit) red bulb on the table. (If nothing else, Saving Silverman confirms Peet’s title as filmdom’s most durable manhood-snatcher.) Alongside Jack Black, she rescues the flick from director Dennis Dugan’s flip, hassling rhythms. Dugan—who’d previously lensed Beverly Hills Ninja and Big Daddy—does his smeary duty here, mainly by dispatching Biggs early on and setting Black loose to mug.

Timed less for Valentine’s Day than the Silence of the Lambs sequel, SS blares Hannibalia: Peet restrained in a catcher’s mask, a joke about eating her and eating her out, two nuts tracking her with night-vision goggles. The watchful testicle called Black injects archness and fun into the movie mainly by evoking Chris Farley recast as a Method actor.