Netflix continues its holiday season culling of Christian fundamentalist subscribers by adding a second holiday-themed religious special from the Brazilian TV and Youtube comedy troop Porta dos Fundos” to its offerings.
Whatever else they’ve managed in their brief career as satirists, these Portuguese-speaking pranksters have certainly shown a gift for stirring folks up.
“The First Temptation of Christ,”released just a week or two back,drew instant outrage for its depiction of the 30th birthday party of Jesus, whose time in the desert has helped him find himself. He’s found himself, and a boyfriend. He’s gay in that raucous farce, which has an infectious noisy energy that translates, even if you have to read the one-liners to get too many of the jokes.
“The Last Hangover,” their riff on “The Last Supper” (see the photo above) isn’t nearly as funny and not quite as blasphemous as “First Temptation of Christ.” It came out a year before “First Temptation,” so think of it as a dry run in the “Let’s see what we can get away with and how funny we can make this sad event on the Liturgical Calendar.”
It’s about the morning after that “big party” Jesus invited all the disciples to. Everybody’s hungover. Nobody knows where the Son of God is. Through flashbacks, as the staggering apostles come to their senses, they try and figure that out.
“Are you splitting the bill?” a waiter (in Portuguese, remember, with English subtitles) wants to know as the evening begins.
“It’s all on Him!” Simon, or maybe Peter says.
Jesus (Fábio Porchat) has trouble holding the floor, gets into arguments and ends all of them the same way.
“Do you know who my Father is?”
He’s always joking around, changing water into wine mid-gulp. Makes quite the drinking game.
He’s trying to tell the lads — some of whom have remembered this is a pot luck (I won’t say which apostle brings the cocaine), some of whom think inviting Mary Magdalene (Karina Ramil) and her “girls” for entertainment was a good idea — that he’s “leaving” them.
So it’s a farewell party? Pass the humus!
“NO,” he shouts, standing up as he does. “I’m gonna DIE!”
He’s choking! Bartholomew! Give him the Heimlich! Just in time, too.
“He’s back! It’s a MIRACLE!”
They grab him and annoy the heck out of him with their preferred celebration of a miracle.
“Stop KISSING! Always with the kissing!”
The whole 44 minutes of this TV “Nativity” special, titled “”Drink, Don’t Eat” is like this. They pose for a group photo–OK, it’s a portrait.
“How long is this going to take?”
“I’m still on the first apostle,” the painter complains.
The guests compete with magic tricks, knowing full well this a specialty of the Son of God. Somebody is always yelling for “JAMES…No, the OTHER James!”
The reason any of this works, in either of their religious specials, is the common currency of the content — knowing stories from the New Testament, being familiar with who Peter, Judas and the Gang are and what role they’re supposed to play in the story.
I’d still like to see this ensemble take a shot at Ramadan, but “Searching for Comedy in the Muslim World” has generally proven fruitless.
A couple of times, “Hangover’s” evening of betrayal over drinks turns giddy, but there isn’t much of the laugh-out-loud variety. The “miracle” here is that there was enough promise in this “special” to earn Porta dos Fundos a second shot at a Nativity show, one with a lot more laughs and originality than “Last Hangover.”
MPAA Rating: unrated, drugs, profanity, impending violence
Cast: Fábio Porchat, Gregório Duvivier, Karina Ramil, Antonio Tabet, Pedro Benevides, Paulo Vieira, Fábio de Luca
Credits: Rodrigo Van Der Put. A Porta dos Fundos/Netflix release.
Running time: :44