Monday, May 19, 2008

Meet The Spartans - Pit Of Death Edition (Unrated)

There's terrible and then there's godawful.

Meet The Spartans surpasses both of those into a horrendous unnamable realm of unwatchable pain and suffering. Some might argue the whole parody genre was never good, but I have a feeling after the Zucker brothers decided to step out for awhile the decline of these types of movies has been drastic. There might have been moments here and there where a movie of this genre would come along and produce some laughs (I'll admit I find some things from Not Another Teen Movie funny), but Meet The Spartans has no redeemable quality whatsoever and laughs are nowhere to be found.

Meet The Spartans is basically a parody of the film 300. They follow the same storyline (or rather series of events), but plugged in are a series of unfunny pop-culture references and homophobic jokes sure to keep any pop-collared frat boy rolling on the floor for days. Any and every pop-culture reference from the past year and half is basically used in this movie. In fact, it's all the movie is. It's lazy and extremely unfunny. It's copy and paste comedy that delivers nothing but groans and cricket noises. Within the first minute of this movie you know it will possible be the worst movie you have ever seen.

Any and every easy joke you can think of from pop culture is used. Britney Spears, Shrek, penguins, James Bond, and American Idol are just a few to name (sprinkled with the obvious pratfalls and crotch hits), and that's just within the first 10 minutes of the film. In fact, every reality show you can think of that's still on the air, especially shows about judging "talent," is "parodied" in this movie. There is even a scene where the Spartans jaunt off to battle singing "I Will Survive". Get it?! A gay joke! I was tying a noose for myself as soon as it came on.

Rather than make a cohesive film with somewhat of a storyline to work in these jokes and references, they just use the skeleton of an outline of 300 and drop in references and gags that don't fit in at all. At least with a movie like Airplane or Top Secret, they took a movie or a genre and created a story that almost strangely pays homage to the films they're parodying while still working in jokes we all know and love. I'm not saying to ground it completely, these movies are meant to be cartoonishly ridiculous, but at least make it work within the realm they've created rather than just making references for the sake of referencing anything to do with pop culture. Most of the time is taken up with the references rather than any kind of story. There's a Stomp The Yard/You Got Served scene that goes on for about 10 minutes and shortly after a "dis competition" (also known as Snaps) that lasts almost for the same amount of time. That's nearly 20 minutes just on two jokes that lose steam before the first second is even done.

Other than the film being a huge pile of worthless shit, the biggest thing that bothered me was a specific reference to Spiderman 3. The joke would be obvious on its own, but the voiceover actually says "Just like Tobey Maguire in Spiderman 3." What? It wasn't an obscure reference or even a hard one to spot at all, yet they still felt compelled to go a step further and actually spell it out for the audience.

Another failing is parodying a parody itself. The Budweiser promos for True Men of Genius are parodied in this film out of nowhere. Those spots were a parody themselves. It seemed extremely unnecessary, lazy, and just an excuse to get more gay jokes in.

Speaking of the Budweiser reference, the product placement was out of control. You could claim it's in a tongue-in-cheek way, but in the failings of the execution of the joke it just seems like further whoring of the product. It's easily some of the worst comedy writing you will ever witness. I wouldn't be shocked if someone told me the script was written in 30 minutes.

Writers and directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer deserve some kind of severe punishment for creating such an abomination to the comedy genre. How is it they were able to create such terrible films like Date Movie, Epic Movie, and the upcoming Disaster Movie while truly talented and funny fresh voices who have something good to offer get overlooked or never even given a chance at all? I will say it; these men are destroying anything and everything great about comedy. Meet the Spartans isn't so bad its good, it's just plain painful and immeasurably unfunny. Do yourself a favor and avoid this movie at all costs! No need to thank me for saving your time and your well being.