Judge David Johnson is neither awesome nor maximum. He's just right!
Our review of The Legend of Awesomest Maximus, published March 17th, 2012, is also available.
Some guys are just awesomer.
For years now my formula has been "National Lampoon = crap." Awesomest Maximus doesn't do much to disprove that calculus—but I will say I couldn't help but laugh in a few places, which is more than I can say for other Lampoon movies.
Facts of the Case
Mad TV's Will Sasso joins an impressive entourage of D-listers as Awesomest Maximus, the most feared—and moronic—general in the Trojan army. When Orlando, the young Trojan prince, makes off with the daughter of the Greek king Erotic (rim shot!), a war is started and Maximus will be forced to overcome his generous girth and general obliviousness to defeat Erotic, win the respects of his gold-digging wife (Kristanna Loken, Bloodrayne) and defeat the unbeatable Greek warrior Tetsticles (Ian Ziering), who, are you ready for this, has large testicles!
Awesomest Maximus is bad, but it's not in the ballpark of the terrible that is the Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer school of spoof filming. Here you get parody, but instead of stealing scenes and littering the runtime with lazy pop culture references, director Jeff Kanew blends storylines from three separate films—Gladiator, Troy and 300—adds some gratuitous breast shots, a dildo and the world record for dick jokes, shakes it up, stirs it in a urinal and voila!: the most juvenile movie ever made!
Seriously, kids, Maximus aims for the crown of sophomoric gags. Going all out with profanity, gay jokes, phallic symbols, nude morbidly obese women (yikes), farting, pooping and all manner of scatological misadventure.
And you know, as low as everyone stoops to wring out laughs, I can respect what they're doing. They know what movie they want to make, and sure it's of the lowest common denominator, but whatever, they have no allegiance to the MPAA so anything goes.
The plot is disposable, giving Sasso and company various opportunities to occupy beats from the parodied films, acting merely as a skeleton to drape a stunning amount of toiler humor upon. The sheer audacity and amount of the gags promises to overwhelm your more refined sensibilities—as they did mine—so you'll belt out a genuine laugh at least a few times. Not a ringing endorsement I know, but when compare to the kind of junk National Lampoon has barfed up in recent years as well as what passes for "parody," Awesomest Maximus gets the slightest of recommendations.
The Blu-ray is no-frills: a 1.78:1/1080p high definition widescreen that's clean enough to betray some truly low-budget green-screen work, a standard 5.1 Dolby Digital surround mix, and zero extras.
You need the stomach for it and, perhaps the emotional maturity of an 11-year-old, but there are some laughs to be found here. You'll feel guilty about it though.
Guilty, but with an embarrassed wink and a nod.
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