Say It Isn't So (film)

Say It Isn't So is a 2001 American screwball sex comedy film directed by J. B. Rogers, written by Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow, and starring Heather Graham and Chris Klein as two young lovers who come to believe that they are actually siblings.

Say It Isn't So
Say it isnt so poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJ. B. Rogers
Produced by
Written by
  • Peter Gaulke
  • Gerry Swallow
Music byMason Daring
CinematographyMark Irwin
Edited byLarry Madaras
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • March 23, 2001 (2001-03-23)
Running time
95 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[2]
Box office$12.3 million[2]

The film was both a critical and commercial failure, grossing a little over $12 million on a $25 million budget.


Gilly Noble (Chris Klein) takes a stray cat named "Ringo" to the animal shelter where he works in Shelbyville, Indiana. Gilly gets his hair cut by a beautiful young aspiring hairdresser named Jo Wingfield (Heather Graham). As Jo cuts Gilly's hair, she mentions that she recently lost a tail-less cat named Ringo, leading Gilly to tell her that Ringo is at the pound. The excitement causes Jo to accidentally cut off a part of Gilly's ear, and he is rushed to the hospital where the ear is reattached. To make up for the incident, Jo invites Gilly to her house for lunch the next day, where Gilly meets Jo's self-centered mother, Valdine (Sally Field), and stroke-suffering father, Walter (Richard Jenkins).

Gilly and Jo date for six months before getting engaged, but suddenly a private detective, Vic Vetter (Brent Briscoe), contacts Gilly to tell him that he's Valdine and Walter's son. After Gilly and Jo end their incestuous relationship, Gilly moves in with his new family, and Jo moves to Beaver, Oregon to start a new life. After being branded a "sister-fucker", Gilly loses his job at the animal shelter and is forced to take a job removing roadkill for the highway department.

Sixteen months later, a surprise comes to the Wingfield doorstep in the form of a young man named Leon Pitofsky (Jack Plotnick), who claims to be Valdine and Walter's son and presents his birth certificate as proof. Valdine and Walter feel better for a few moments before angrily lashing out at Gilly and forcing him to leave. Valdine notifies the Beaver police that Gilly is a sex offender. Gilly runs for his life and decides to go to Oregon to inform Jo. On the way to Oregon, he befriends a pilot with two prosthetic legs named Dig (Orlando Jones).

Meanwhile, Jo becomes engaged to her ex-boyfriend Jack Mitchelson (Eddie Cibrian), a rich and powerful young man who secretly deals in marijuana, controls over half the town by paying off numerous politicians, and cheats on Jo with his ex-girlfriend, a local cop named Gina (Sarah Silverman). Valdine keeps pushing Jo to marry Jack in order to become involved with Jack's wealth, although Jo still loves Gilly. Valdine keeps Leon secluded and tells Jo that Leon is a figment of Gilly's imagination. Gilly tries to hide from the authorities, and Dig frequently aids him in his escape from Jack's henchmen.

Ultimately, Gilly is not able to stop Jo from marrying Jack, who still believes that Gilly is her brother. Police arrive at the marriage scene to inform the family that Gilly died in a car accident, which was actually an act of sabotage by Leon who has been arrested. Jo learns the truth and ends her marriage which causes Valdine to attack Leon and have a stroke. It's also revealed that Jack was behind Valdine and Walter being misidentified as Gilly's parents. But unknown to everyone, Gilly was not driving the car at the time of the accident when it was actually one of Jack's henchmen Steak (Brent Hinkley). Gilly, who has just returned to working at the animal shelter, sees Jo and mistakenly believes that she wants to commit suicide. They are finally reunited on the roof of the same animal shelter that was a catalyst for their coming together.

A few months later, Gilly and Jo are married, and Walter, Valdine, Leon, Dig, and many other people attend, with Walter on his feet and Valdine in a wheelchair after her stroke. Also, as a surprise wedding present, Vetter arrives and tells him that he has truly found his mother. In an ironic twist, Gilly's mother turns out to be Suzanne Somers, whom Gilly used to fantasize about while masturbating.



Box officeEdit

Say It Isn't So opened in the United States on March 23, 2001 in 1,974 venues. It ranked number 10 at the North American box office, earning $2,861,903 in its opening weekend.[3] At the end of its run, the film grossed $5,520,393 in the United States and $6,800,000 overseas for a worldwide total of $12,320,393.[2]

Critical receptionEdit

The film received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an approval rating of 9% based on 105 reviews. The website's consensus states: "Those that haven't tired of Farrelly brothers' brand of comedy may still find some laughs here. Otherwise, the slow pacing and unimaginative shock gags will start to wear on the viewer."[4] On Metacritic, the film has a 21 out of 100 rating based on reviews from 29 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[5]

In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave the film one out of four stars and stated: "A comedy character can't be successfully embarrassed for more than a few seconds at a time. Even then, it's best if they don't know what they've done wrong--if the joke's on them, and they don't get it. ... "Say It Isn't So," on the other hand, keeps a character embarrassed in scene after scene, until he becomes an...embarrassment. The movie doesn't understand that embarrassment comes in a sudden painful flush of realization; drag it out, and it's not embarrassment anymore, but public humiliation, which is a different condition, and not funny."[6] Writing for The Washington Post, Desson Howe noted that "When the Farrelly Brothers made "Dumb and Dumber," "There's Something About Mary" and "Me, Myself & Irene," the message was: Comedy doesn't get lower than this. They were wrong. ... This time, the jokes about dead animals, gunk in the hair, incest and all other taboos are flatter than the road kill Gilly finds himself picking up for a living."[7]

Home mediaEdit

Say It Isn't So was released on VHS and DVD on August 21, 2001. The DVD features an audio commentary by director Rogers and star Klein, and six deleted and extended scenes including an extended ending.


  1. ^ "SAY IT ISN'T SO (15)". British Board of Film Classification. March 21, 2001. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Say It Isn't So (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  3. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for March 23-25, 2001". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. March 26, 2001. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  4. ^ "Say It Isn't So". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  5. ^ "Say It Isn't So". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  6. ^ "Say It Isn't So". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  7. ^ "Say It Isn't So". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 12, 2017.

External linksEdit