Dimension Films // 2008 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 13th, 2009
@#$% Movie Movie. That's the parody I'm waiting for.
Stop me if you've seen this disc sitting on a shelf before. A spoof movie featuring a past-her-prime 1990s sex symbol and some other people making stupid faces sitting in a movie theatre. That's usually a signal for supreme suckage -- but Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have zero involvement in this project. Is there hope?
No. But first things first. Hapless teen Rick Riker (Drake Bell, Drake and Josh) lives his life getting pushed around by the school jocks and futilely pining after the girl of his dreams (Sara Paxton). One day, on a field trip, he's bitten by a genetically modified dragonfly, which grants him superpowers.
So he becomes the Dragonfly, a force for good and extensive collateral damage in Empire City. His main foe is The Hourglass (Christopher McDonald, Happy Gilmore) a crazy scientist who, ah forget it, no one cares. Basically there's a lot of farting.
I went into this with an open mind, I swear. I recall smirking at the TV spots for this movie and seeing that some of the talent behind The Naked Gun had been involved with the production and thinking maybe this has a chance. But, it was not to be. Though there are flashes of funny, Superhero Movie is about as painful an ordeal as you'd expect.
On the upside, it's still an improvement over the Friedberg/Seltzer bile that has passed for film parody these last few, dark years and, yes, that isn't saying a lot. There are cheap current events jokes in Superhero (hey, look it's Facebook! And Google! And YouTube!), but at least this isn't merely a string of pop culture references. Writer/director Craig Mazin tries hard to craft original humor, and judging by some of the behind-the-scenes footage, he at least finds it entertaining. The rest of the English-speaking world? I don't think so.
Gags are primarily slapstick in nature, but it's overwrought and mean slapstick. How's this grab you: Leslie Nielsen dry humping the corpse of his wife before accidentally setting her on fire; Drake Bell repeatedly assaulted by a school bus; Sara Paxton hit on the head with a bowling ball; the Pope punching people in the face (good one!); an old lady and her dog tossed into a wood-chipper. I'm no prude, but this is the kind of stuff the movie hangs its hat on over and over. Moderation, Craig. Moderation! And don't get me started on the Stephen Hawking jokes. I get it. He's crippled and it's high-larious to watch him fall into a beehive or get ejected from his wheelchair.
If the thought of watching Pamela Anderson cameo as the Invisible Woman showing off -- surprise! -- a large amount of cleavage strikes you as a good time to be had in the home theatre, Dimension's Blu-ray should satisfy. Transferred in a colorful, clean 1.85:1 widescreen, the high-def picture represents a noticeable uptick in resolution. This being a goofy spoof movie, the colors are exaggerated and flamboyant, and the heightened clarity will make Pamela Anderson's bosom leap off the screen. By the way, on the disc cover, she's wearing a necklace that says "Dynamic Duo." Priceless! A Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix supplements the video nicely, though aside from some frantic (read: noisy) action-y sequences there's just not much for your roided-out system to play with.
Extras: a cheerful and mercifully self-deprecating commentary with Craig Mazin and his producers, an series of interviews with cast members who are apparently unaware of how crappy their movie is, deleted scenes and an alternate ending that are best left not talked about, some more clips and promo materials to punish yourself with via BD-Live and, finally and oh so sadly, "The Art of Spoofing," which absolutely, positively should have been titled "The Fart of Spoofing," considering how far the art-form has fallen.
Yes, it's better than the Friedberg/Seltzer brand of spoofing, but the yardage between Superhero Movie and a functional comedy is still somewhere in the hundreds of thousands.
Guilty. Congratulations on further tarnishing Leslie Nielsen's legacy.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Dimension Films
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p Widescreen)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (German)
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Alternate Ending