God said "Ha!"
Review by Ross Anthony

The picture opens with Julia Sweeny (of Saturday Night Live fame) in a set designed to look like her living room. She moves from couch to window, beginning a monologue that I thought would serve well as a pleasant introduction to the film. I was mistaken, the monologue is the film. But, don't take that negatively. Julia conducts a fine one woman show.

Julia satires the comic and tragic stories of her family. Focusing mostly on their struggle with a family member's fight against cancer; the Sweeny group comically attempts to tolerate living under the same roof during this "temporary" trying time. Sweeny's directness about the topic is likely to knot up your esophagus -- so bring plenty of lozenges and tissues. Such seriousness accentuates her ironic sense of humor, bringing chuckles through your tears with lines like, "How do you hide a hysterectomy?" along with tangenting silliness, "My sister lives in Japan with Yamamoto, her sweet potato farmer boyfriend that we've affectionately nicknamed 'Yam'."

Technical knitpickings: the camera never leaves the stage, though it seldom stops dollying around its subject. At times that's nauseating. Then, at dire revelations, the camera not only stops, but cuts to a close-up. I'm sure the intention was to emphasize Julia's sobering news, but it ends up clubbing you over the head instead of letting the news resonate on it's own. Lastly, aside from the warm sofa, the costume and set appeared to be lacking any coordination (a serious oversight for a film that never leaves it's subject or room.)

Though still worthwhile on film, I suspect "God Said Ha!" must have been more powerful live on stage (its roots). Moreover, you will likely find this picture as therapeutic as a support group, should you or a family member be stricken with a cancer. Ontological professionals might consider purchasing a copy of the tape as a useful reference piece for their clients.

Written, directed, starring: Julie Sweeny.
Executive producer: Quentin Tarantino.


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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:10:05 PDT