Sunday, July 06, 2008

Superhero Movie: Extended Edition
Review by Sombrero Grande

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Remember back when parody films actually possessed the possibility of being good? Back in the days of Airplane! and The Naked Gun!, moviegoers could rely on a silly, goofy laugh-fest that took the conventions of different movies and genres and effectively skewered them. Nowadays, ever since the popularity of the Scary Movie series, the parody genre has started letting any sort of trash in. Just so long as it contains a reference to some sort of genre in the title followed by the word "Movie," any roughly feature-length roll of celluloid will suffice enough to be called a "parody film."

Superhero Movie is a laughless trainwreck. It takes the basic plotline of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, tosses in a few references to X-Men, The Fantastic Four and Batman, and spews forth a staggering number of obvious "jokes" and poorly-staged pratfalls. It is a movie completely devoid of humor and worth. As a parody it fails because it never truly mocks anything except the intelligence of its audience. A new superhero designs his own costume but forgets to put eyeholes in, which leads to him bumping into a lamp. Seriously? Is that really the best kind of material they can come up with to parody superhero movies? And believe me when I say that, after seeing the whole of Superhero Movie, yeah, that's unfortunately the best they can come up with.

The saddest thing about Superhero Movie is that one of the producers behind it was David Zucker, one of the writers and directors of Airplane! and The Naked Gun! That's it, folks; the parody genre is now officially dead, left to be dry-humped over and over again until nothing remains but indistinguishable ashes. (Fun fact: both Leslie Neilsen and Christopher McDonald dry-hump corpses in Superhero Movie, perhaps as a poignant metaphor for what the filmmakers are doing to the parody movie genre, but I suspect it's more likely just because these morons think humping equals comedic gold.)

I expect nothing but trash from the other "Movie" parody filmmakers, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the ones behind Date Movie, Epic Movie and the upcoming Disaster Movie, but I expected better from Mr. Zucker than this garbage.

But perhaps it's unfair to single out Mr. Zucker for this atrocity, when the real blame should be place squarely on the actual writer and director of this steaming pile: Craig Mazin, whose previous work as writer can be witnessed in the movie RocketMan. You know, the decade-old childrens' "classic" wherein Harland Williams plays a spaceman who farts in his suit, causing it to inflate to comedic proportions? Yeah, think of jokes like that played out for an entire feature film, and you've got Superhero Movie.

The "Extended Edition" of the Superhero Movie DVD is branded "Longer, Funnier and More Outrageous." I have no idea what was added to the film to constitute this Extended Edition DVD, but, trust me, you don't want the torture of Superhero Movie to last any longer than it does. If it's now "funnier" then my heart goes out to any poor sap who paid to see this in a theater, as for the "more outrageous" part, well, cross out the letters m-o-r-e-o-u-t and o-u-s and you'll see exactly what Superhero Movie will leave you with.

Extras on the DVD include an equally unfunny alternate ending, deleted scenes, a "Meet the Cast" featurette, theatrical trailer and a commentary provided by Zucker, Mazin and Robert K. Weiss (which, I have to admit, I didn't listen to, as getting through the movie once alone was enough torture for one lifetime). The only humor to be found on the entire disc comes in a documentary entitled "The Art of Spoofing," wherein the cast and filmmakers talk about how difficult it is making a good parody and that they should know because they made one. Hilarious.

You want to see a parody movie done right? Rent Airplane!, The Naked Gun!, Hot Shots!: Part Deux, Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstien or even Shrek. If you want to see just how inept something that wants to call itself a parody can be, only then should you ever try to subject yourself to Superhero Movie. Remember: with great ineptitude comes great suffering.


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