The Good: Ummm . . . . none
The Bad: Not funny, Terrible acting, Not witty, DVD Bonus features stink, Everything
The Basics: In another film best described as "criminally unfunny," the same lame jokes are recycled in a fantasy setting.
For those who do not know my reviews, I am an unabashed geek. I love science fiction and fantasy in film and novel form and I've even been known to pick up a comic book from time to time. So, when someone who loves science fiction-fantasy and has a sense of humor about being a geek is enthusiastically looking forward to a parody of it, as I was in the case of Epic Movie, one hopes that the review would carry a little more weight, the way someone who has seen every single cop show and movie can separate out the best from the average for a viewer. That said, Epic Movie is a colossal disappointment, unworth the time of the geek, the lover of parody or even the thirteen year-old crowd the film is probably marketed toward.
In short, this is another just plain dumb movie from the same people who brought us similarly dumb movies as Date Movie (reviewed here!) and Scary Movie 4 (reviewed here!). Indeed, it includes much of the same cast and . . . many of the same jokes.
Assembled from various families, four orphans come together in a chocolate factory where they discover a magical wardrobe. Passing through it, they are transported to a magical world that is enslaved by the forces of White Bitch, an evil queen. Susan, Edward, Peter, and Lucy must work together to overthrow her and bring peace to the world.
Sigh. This is another lame collection of jokes against homosexuals, overweight people and little people. Yes, it's an assembly of the usual dick and fart jokes that combine to be nothing more than a complete waste of time. Indeed, the flick is virtually interchangeable with the parodies of horror films and romantic comedies that have come before. The work ends up utilizing more generic humor than anything, so geeks won't even be rewarded for their inside knowledge. In short, it's not even parody or satire, it's just a string of stupid, generic jokes that poke fun of anyone who is different.
Most of Epic Movie gets its plot from The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (reviewed here!), though it makes fun of the Harry Potter series, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and X-Men. None of these allusions are done with any sense of style or any truly intimate knowledge or observation. Characters that look like characters in those works pop up, make a lame joke and disappear.
It's hard to muster up the energy to write more about this piece of cinematic garbage because, in truth, there's not much more to it. The "Unrated" edition (a light "R" if not a heavy "PG-13," which it was originally rated) clocks in at barely 93 minutes, including the credits, so it's not like writer-directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer were really straining themselves. Considering the wealth of material in fantasy and superhero films available to them, they truly underperform, even for hacks. I feel free to call them hacks because this film does exactly what their two prior works together did; recycle the same, lame breast, flatulence and gay jokes in a setting that is supposedly a parody of far better works.
The acting in this movie is just plain terrible. Kal Penn brings none of his sense of wit to his performance, leaving the flaccid script to fall dead in his deliveries. Jayma Mays does nothing so distinct as to imitate Anna Ferris. One wonders why the directors didn't use Ferris given how flawlessly Mays copies her performance. Even established greats like Fred Willard who plays Aslo, a parody of Aslan, who has proven he can be the funniest man on screen in films like Best In Show, falls completely flat. Like Penn, he has a great sense of comic timing which does not come through at all in this work.
Indeed, there's nothing enjoyable about Epic Movie and little more to write about. There are no genuine characters per se as all of them are simply parodies of characters from other films. Their role is not to be distinctive, interesting or illustrate character growth, they are supposed to mirror characters established in other fantasy or superhero films. Sadly, they do not even do that with any distinction.
If you're looking for something worth watching, you won't find it here. I was looking forward to the movie and I didn't laugh a single time, so lame was the humor. The featurettes on the DVD are not funny or interesting or even remotely insightful, making the entire DVD a waste of time. It's not entertaining; geeks will not find it funny or insightful. Fans of cinema in general will not find it clever or amusing. Indeed, the only people I can think who might find something of value in it are children lacking in any judgment, taste, or intellect. People amused by shiny objects.
Sigh. No, probably not even them.
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© 2011, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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