Director: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
Starring: Kal Penn, Jennifer Coolidge
Following the commercial successes of the Scary Movie series and Date Movie, writer-director team Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer turn their attention to the epic genre, lampooning various films in their own inimitable style.
The ever-reliable Wikipedia defines the epic as ‘a genre of film that emphasizes human drama on a grand scale’, so naturally the first film Friedberg and Seltzer choose to ‘parody’ (using the term as loosely as humanly possible) is The DaVinci Code. Okay, so slightly contradictory film choice, but this is more than made up for by the clever subversion of the idiosyncrasies of the film; you know, like having the heroine fall over because of her heels, and have a guy explain the code to her through break-dancing charades. With material like that, how could they not use The DaVinci Code?
After starting with a film that can’t be considered an epic in any sense of the word (but with the humour they squeezed out of it, who can blame them?), Seltzer and Friedberg get us right back on track with spoofs of those two quintessential epics, Nacho Libreand Charlie and the Chocolate Factor. Quite what the point of giving yourself a definitive theme to work with and then just totally ignoring it is, I’m not entirely sure. Pretty soon, all semblance of a coherent theme tying the film together has gone. There’s some extremely vague plot about orphans (or something like that, in all honesty, I couldn’t care less; I still put in as much effort into the film as Seltzer and Friedberg did) used in order to give the two gigantic bastards responsible for this utter travesty an excuse to basically trot out spoof after spoof.
The next film to get Seltz-berged is Snakes on a Plane. You may be thinking ‘Wait a minute – I thought Snakes on a Plane was already pretty tongue in cheek?’ Well you’d be right. How do you spoof a spoof? Why, by repeating exactly what happens in the original. That’s right, Seltzer and Friedberg once again show why they will go down in history as comic luminaries by parodying Snakes on a Plane by putting snakes on a plane. Oh, and by having a woman with unshaven legs scratch herself just before the snakes appear. Ladies and Gentlemen, we are in the presence of greatness.
The actors do their best to bring the script to life. Unfortunately, the cast’s best is apparently completely over the top, crap acting. It’s got the guy who played Kumar in Harold and Kumar, some woman who’s now in Glee (who plays a character who goes so far beyond the ‘ditzy’ stereotype that it’s quite obvious she has some sort of mental defect), and Stifler’s mum from American Pie (who is referred to several times as a MILF – do you get it? Do you see what they did there? Cos that’s what those guys call her in American Pie, and so the characters in this call her the same? Yeah? Funny, right?). In all fairness, they could’ve had Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, and Laurence Olivier and they wouldn’t have been able to save this complete train wreck.
Not content with firmly cementing their place as the least talented, most inexplicably-funded pair of juvenile twats in Hollywood today (or ever), Seltzer and go one better and master the cinematic transition from unfunny to unfunny and offensive. Having a girl almost suffocate whilst a warning reads ‘Keep away from dipshits’? Hilarious! Changing Johnny Depp’s character’s name from Pirates of the Carribean to Jack Swallows? Side-splitting!
Some films are so bad that they’re good. Some rubbish old films like Plan 9 from Outer Space are now held in high regard as hilarious cult classics. I am confident in my prediction that in 50 years, scientists and historians will look at Epic Movie as a historical relic of a time when humans mainly wandered about aimlessly, dragging their knuckles on the floor, and could be entertained for hours on end by no more than clapping their hands together.