How ‘Jewtopia’ confirms ‘Pewtopia’
Film review

How ‘Jewtopia’ confirms ‘Pewtopia’

Substituting cultural cliches for any substantive understanding of Judaism, Brad Fogel's new comedy echoes the ignorance and apathy highlighted by a recent Pew survey of American Jews

Wedding scene in 'Jewtopia' (photo credit: courtesy)
Wedding scene in 'Jewtopia' (photo credit: courtesy)

It is difficult to write a review of the movie “Jewtopia,” recently released in the US by director Brad Fogel and starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jon Lovitz and a score of other recognizable faces. This is a movie that, contrary to most commentators in the Jewish world, absolutely delights in the results of the recent Pew report predicting that American Judaism will eventually segue into nothingness.

“Jewtopia” is a cinematic exercise in reveling in the “humor” of a Jewish identity free of Judaism, but for residual tinges of gefilte, borscht and parentally imposed guilt.

Dystopia or Jewtopia? You decide. Reader, not since reviewing a puppet show about Auschwitz (yes, you read that right) have I hated something that was supposed to be entertaining quite so much.

The extremely-thinly-plausible premise of “Jewtopia” is that Christian O’Connell, a NASCAR-following, hunting-loving goy boy, has a thing for Jewish girls. See, Christian fell in love with Nice Jewish Girl Rebecca in college… but when he tried to propose to her at graduation, she nixed the idea, telling him that he was a lot of fun, but that she had to marry someone Jewish.

Fast forward nine years, and Christian is a 31-year-old plumber still devastated by Rebecca’s having dumped him.

What’s the appeal of Jewish women to Christian, you may wonder? When he was with his Jewish girlfriend, Christian realizes, he never had to make a single decision, which was fine with him, if perhaps offensive to some of us.

Christian O’Connell, a NASCAR-following, hunting-loving goy boy who has a thing for Jewish girls. (photo credit: courtesy)
Christian O’Connell, a NASCAR-following, hunting-loving goy boy who has a thing for Jewish girls. (photo credit: courtesy)

His plumbing compadres (all vivid stereotypes of Spanish-speaking blue collar workers) advise him to find a new “puta” ASAP, but don’t understand why it has to be a Jewish woman (predictably using the pun: “Jew no Jew, boss!”).

Logically, the all-Christian Christian decides to scratch his itch by going to a temple’s singles mixer. Shockingly, he makes little headway among the female attendees by approaching them and saying, “Hey, I’m Christian” (perhaps the film’s one funny joke). It is at this mixer that he meets the beautiful, UPenn-educated Allison Marx, rabbi’s daughter and Jewess extraordinaire – and introduces himself as Avi Rosenberg, a Jewish doctor in charge of “unclogging pipes.”

Christian/Avi decides he needs help in perpetuating his Jewish deception (which will inevitably culminate in his circumcision, of course) and turns to his one Jewish friend from grade school, Adam Lipshitz, for guidance in all things Jewish.

“All things Jewish,” as it turns out, means nothing more than minutiae of neurosis and rudeness. It means telling your waiter in a restaurant how you want your salad prepared so it is completely different from what was on the menu. Being Jewish also means complaining that your restaurant table is in a drafty place and that you need to switch seating locations.

Jon Lovitz and Rita Wilson as Jewish stereotypes in 'Jewtopia' (photo credit: courtesy)
Jon Lovitz and Rita Wilson as Jewish stereotypes in ‘Jewtopia’ (photo credit: courtesy)

What else, according to “Jewtopia,” does being Jewish mean? It means “only wanting the best,” from designing the aesthetics of your lady parts (through surgery) to never hanging things with antlers in your home. It means being extremely neurotic about your children, to the point of giving them intense hang-ups and designing nurseries for as-yet unconceived children complete with antibacterial wash chambers. It means having loud conversations about yeast infections, comparing them to cottage cheese, over the brunch table. And it means, when you become bar mitzvah, that you strip down to your underwear on the bima, screaming, “I’m not ready to be a man!” creating a new ritual for hundreds of bar mitzvah boys in your wake.

No wonder Christian doesn’t simply take the “easy” path of converting to Judaism: why should he bother? After all, as per “Jewtopia,” being Jewish means nothing of substance.

Being Jewish means being bullied and guilted into marrying someone Jewish “because of the Holocaust” — but not for any reason of values or value. And being Jewish means that one day, you will snap. You will suffer a nervous breakdown in which you simulate sex with pool inflatables. Then you will fall in love with your hot Mongolian therapist, have sex with her and marry her, despite being told by your mother, “The fate of our entire religion depends on you.”

And this, according to “Jewtopia,” will constitute a funny and happy ending.

If you enjoy laughing at Jews behaving like vaguely Goebbels-inspired stereotypes of themselves, then you will love this movie. Read the Pew survey on how the American Jewish community is dissipating in a sea of apathy and ignorance first, for the full effect. Then watch the movie on a Friday night, just after the sun goes down, with a 40 of Manischewitz. It’s not like you have anything else to do.

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