Movie Review: Meet the Spartans

I wish I could go back in time to the 70s. With Mel Brooks in full swing and the ZAZ filmmakers prepping for Airplane!, this was the heyday of the spoof film. Alas, what is this world coming to?

It’s called Meet the Spartans, but it could easily have been called Epic Movie: Number Two. And when I say Number Two, I really mean this movie is number two.

A hodgepodge of unfunny references to 300, bad reality television and off-kilter celebrities, Meet the Spartans is one of the worst spoofs to come down the pike. Rather than just trash their movie and dismiss it as crap – or complain about one or two gags, you could teach a college course on what not to do in a comedy by showing Meet the Spartans.

While repetition can be funny, it has to be done right. However, the filmmakers belabor gags (that aren’t even funny the first time) for five minutes or more, dropping in random pop culture references with no relevance.

And for the same reason, the guys FOX has dubbed “the new masters of the parody genre” (no kidding, this comes right from a FOX press release) are obsessed with reality television. They reference everything from American Idol to America’s Next Top Model.

And with no shame in sight, they drop in blatant imbedded advertising, complete with slogans and product placement. Not only did I have to suffer through this film, but I had to watch shoehorned commercials for everything from Gatorade to Dentyne Ice. It’s worse than the Hemi reference in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Sigh… I prefer the label that my colleague Jason Zingale from said, that these guys are the new masters of suck.

On the bright note, Carmen Electra is easy on the eyes, and you do get plenty of cleavage and even some nip slips here and there (along with an alarming number of blurred out crotch shots of Nicole Parker, who doubles poorly for Paris, Britney and Paula Abdul). But it just isn’t worth the price of admission. Look up Carmen’s photos on the internet if you really want to see her in the buff.

The effects are embarrassingly bad in this film, from the Disney Channel-level of CGI to the community theatre-style creature shop. I swear, if I had seen viral video footage of Leonidas wrestling a vulgar giant penguin on the internet, I would have never believe that anyone would actually put this in a major feature film. I’ve seen more imagination in YouTube videos of sorority chick puking after a binge night out.

Finally, a comedy should never have to explain its jokes. But to have someone yell, “Hey, it’s Ghost Rider” then cut to a flaming skull on a biker just shows that the filmmakers must think we are as dumb as they are. Trust me, if Carmen Electra shows up in a black Spider-Man outfit, we really don’t need to be told it’s a reference to Spider-Man 3.

My head hurt after seeing this… even worse than it did after Cloverfield.

Grade: D-

The Upside: It was in focus… sort of.

The Downside: Every fucking minute of the movie.

On the Side: It will probably bank this weekend, so watch out for another turd spoof in about a year.

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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