Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Movie Review: Epic Movie

Epic Movie

In Brief: What's Almost Redeemable

  • Elicits a few stray laughs here & there.

  • Almost has the potential to be slightly commendable for spoofing so many different movies at once, occasionally in a semi-funny way.

  • Well-fitting and brightly colored, although cheap-looking, costumes.

  • The movie has lots of dwarfs in it, and that's always a good thing (not necessarily for their dignity).

In Brief: What's Just Plain Bad

  • Movie plays like a long series of short skits, with each new skit hitting the "reset button" and ignoring everything that came before.

  • For a comedy, it's not nearly funny enough. Tries *way* too hard to earn its laughs, which just makes things worse.

  • Much of the comedy is predictable. You can sometimes see each punchline coming 5 or 10 seconds before it occurs.

  • Intentionally edited such that use of dummies and stunt doubles is blatantly obvious (mildy funny the first time; a bit old by the fourth or fifth).

  • On second thought, every dwarf in this movie should fire their agent.

D Story
C- Acting
D+ Directing
C- Visuals

In the same style as the Scary Movie franchise, Epic Movie borrows the overall plot from one or more films and then uses characters, images, and other plot points to spoof as many movies as it can in 1.5 hours. The backbone of Epic Movie is borrowed from the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But, instead of the main characters all starting as family, the orphans come from various backstories, allowing the movie to spoof a different movie for each character.

"Spoiler" Warning...

  • Lucy (Jayma Mays) works at a museum in Paris where a "murder" has supposedly been committed, spoofing the Da Vinci Code.

  • Edward (Kal Penn) lives in a Mexican monestary along with an eccentric masked wrestler, spoofing Nacho Libre.

  • Susan (Faune Chambers) is on a plane that's infested with fake-looking snakes and a bad Samuel L. Jackson impersonator, spoofing, well, Snakes on a Plane (kind of obvious).

  • Peter (Adam Campbell) attends a high school for "special" students where he's picked on by mutant "teenagers" with far cooler mutant traits than his, spoofing X-Men 3.

I have to admit, some portions of Lucy, Susan, and Peter's backstories were mildly amusing, and there was a halfway decent plot device that brings the orphans together after their characters are introduced. But, like most setups in the movie, they go a step too far, add in random jokes that aren't funny, and have little sense of comic timing. The "comedy" is always blatant, blunt, and crude.

Eventually, the central location and comedic core of the movie becomes the magical land of Gnarnia (there is one funny joke regarding the spelling of the name). But, the land is under the threat of the evil White Bitch, and the four orphans must fulfill their destinies as kings and queens to ensure peace in the land.

The movie does a lot of spoofing of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Pirates of the Caribbean, and there are images and in-jokes that reference Click, Harry Potter, MTV Cribs, Scarface, Superman Returns, Star Wars, Talladega Nights, and many other sources. Surprisingly, Borat just barely makes it in the movie, and V from V for Vendetta is only seen during the closing credits. There's a part of the movie that spoofs MTV's Punk'd. Is that even still on the air?

As bad as the movie was, I have to confess that I wasn't disappointed. I was expecting it to be bad and to have the kind of content that it did. Oddly, the friend I saw it with must have been expecting more because he seemed upset and practically offended that it was as bad as it was. Now he knows how I felt sitting through Silent Hill last year.

The shame of it is that spoofing celebrities & movies could be really funny, and this movie did have a few stray laughs and some decent production values. But, ultimately, some wimpy dialogue, a lack of cohesive plot, and a disregard for continuity make the movie more a spoof of itself than anything else.

The concept has potential and could have been better, but instead this movie proves--by serving as a negative example--that even a comedy needs a story, wit, comedic timing, good acting, and a director that gives a crap about quality. Beer jokes, beastiality, people peeing in snow, punches to the crotch, projectile throwing-up, sewage eating, and painting Carmen Electra to look like Mystique from X-Men, together, do not make a funny--nor epic--movie.

Fun Facts from Wikipedia

Crispin Glover, who plays Willy Wonka in this movie, was actually considered for the role in Tim Burton's film. A boom mic can be seen in the corner of the screen in several scenes (I hate I didn't catch that myself).

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