Funnier than Date Movie, not as funny as Scary Movie 4.
Four adult orphans are mysteriously and humorously drawn together to begin an epic adventure only to find themselves at the mercy of a child-loving madman named Willy (Crispin Glover). They escape into the land of Gnarnia (with a silent ‘G’ for legal purposes) where the orphans must defeat the Witch Bitch (Jennifer “Stifler’s Mom” Coolage) before she and her evil minions do, well, something or another. Let hilarity ensue!
In the latest of a long line of spoof films comes Epic Movie, this time pointing the finger directly at the summer tent pole flicks known for high concept and even higher budgets. Superman, X-men, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, Borat, Snakes on a Plane, you name it, it’s all in there someplace. Having learned something from the shaky but amazingly resilient Scary Movie franchise, Epic Movie isn’t afraid to walk off the page and break any wall it has to for a gag. Much of the merriment is simply the people who keep turning up, such as Fred Willard as Aslo the Lion, Jennifer Coolage as The White Bitch, and Kevin McDonald as “too old to play Harry Potter.”
And now, for the bad news. How much of the funny stuff is in the trailer versus sitting through an 81 minute movie? First off, yes, it’s shorter than your average traditional Disney animated feature. Second, a lot of the funny stuff is already right there with very little extra to come before or after it. It’s one of those situations where the only thing the filmmakers didn’t show the audience in the trailer are the things they really couldn’t show in a general audiences trailer (i.e. toilet humor). Taking the good with the bad, if you HAVE to see this movie in theaters, try to fit it into a matin?©e and save a few bits.
Hollywood’s going to keep making these films because they’re so cheap to do and spend enough on advertising to make a buck off an opening weekend. Grab a few middle-range character actors, find creative ways to imitate million-dollar effects on the cheap, and have a good time. But a good spoof all comes down to the writing, and it would be nice to think that anyone could write a movie spoofing films that have really been asking for it. Unfortunately, that’s either harder than we think or studios really need to allot a little more cash for a talented writer or two. This brings me to my last point; is the fact that the only official online presence for a film a “free” page on MySpace the new indicator that’s it pretty cheap all around?
(a two skull recommendation out of four)