Appellate Judge Dan Mancini's hatred of this movie is epic.
We know it's big. We measured.
Facts of the Case
Four orphans are brought together by fate. Lucy (Jayma Mays, Flags of Our Fathers) was raised by a museum curator (David Carradine, Kill Bill: Volume 2) who's murdered by an evil albino. Edward (Kal Penn, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle) lived in a Mexican monastery where the cook was a fat mustachioed dude with a fondness for lucha libre wrestling. Adopted by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Susan (Faune A. Chambers, The Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold) is on her way to Namibia when her plane is attacked by snakes. Peter (Adam Campbell, Date Movie) goes to a high school for mutants and has a crush on a nude blue mutant named Mystique (Carmen Electra, Scary Movie), but is an outcast even among the outcasts because his mutation is a set of chicken wings.
Make it stop.
Each of the four orphans obtains a golden ticket that allows them access to Willy's (Crispin Glover, Back to the Future) chocolate factory, where the sewer lines are open so poop can be mistaken for a chocolate river and the Oompa Loompas make candy to "Fergalicious." Yeah. Willy traps the orphans with the intent of using their body parts in his candy, but they escape through a wardrobe into a magical land called Gnarnia. There Lucy meets a faun named Mr. Tumnus (Héctor Jiménez, Nacho Libre) who gives her an MTV Cribs-style tour of his cave, then drops the 411 that Gnarnia is stuck in an eternal winter because of the evil power of the White Bitch (Jennifer Coolidge, Best of Show).
For the love of all things holy.
If our four highly annoying heroes are to unravel the mystery of their secret lineage, they must join forces with a leonine lothario named Aslo (Fred Willard, Waiting for Guffman) to defeat the White Bitch. Or something like that.
Someone kill me.
Epic Movie stinks. I didn't laugh once. Whatever you do, don't purchase it. Don't even rent it. It doesn't deserve a nickel of your hard earned money, or five seconds of your precious time.
It looks and sounds decent on DVD, though. On the whole, the transfer is crisp, colorful, and entirely free of any source flaws. Minor haloing from edge enhancement is occasionally noticeable, and isolated shots are riddled with heavy grain and pixilation. But I was working from a screener copy. The actual release version may look better. The audio presentation is a Dolby 5.1 mix that has loads of clarity and a broad dynamic range. The mix is a little front heavy; more creative use the rear soundstage would make the track more immersive.
This Unrated Edition runs seven minutes longer than the theatrical cut. I haven't seen the shorter cut, but I think it's safe to assume the added material makes this version six minutes and 55 seconds cruddier (taking into account five seconds of bare breasts I assume weren't included in the PG-13 edit).
This single-disc release is also stacked with extras. First up is a commentary by writing-directing team Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. They spend an inordinate amount of time talking about the technical aspects of filmmaking as if Epic Movie is an actual film. None of what they say makes the movie funny, but it does prove that they're amazingly oblivious to how big a dud they foisted on us. That might be funny if it weren't so sad. There's also an audio option called "Breaking Wind" that pushes the wacky sound effects and foley work more forward in the mix. It's a waste of time. Seven featurettes are as embarrassingly unfunny as the feature, and an amateur short film by a viral video contest winner makes you wonder how lame the losers were. Finally, there is a brief collection of outtakes and an alternate ending.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
I know what you're thinking: That five-sentence paragraph up there is a lazy excuse for a review, Dan. Well, Epic Movie is a lazy excuse for a movie. Supposedly funny, it doesn't bother itself making actual jokes. It poorly mimics scenes from much better movies (and a movie could be a total piece of crap and still be much better than Epic Movie) and pretends that said mimicry is parody. It isn't. What it is is an exercise in pop culture inanity: Ashton Kutcher's exaggerated, spastic persona is annoying; some kid doing a hyper-exaggerated, hyper-spastic imitation of Kutcher isn't funny, it's hyper-annoying.
Want to see a kid named Jareb Dauplaise (Entourage) do a half-assed impersonation of Nacho Libre? Want to watch David Carradine embarrass himself by pretending he's Ian McKellen in The Da Vinci Code? Want to see a hip-hop "Gnarnia" where there's a talking beaver named Harry Beaver? Want to see Carmen Electra as X-Men's blue-bodied Mystique? Want to see Crispin Glover torpedo his weirdo indie cred in a clunky paean to Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Want to see Kal Penn continue to demonstrate that his hilarity in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle was a fluke? Want to see a game of Siddoku played with urine? Want to see Fred Willard fight an albino in a scene whose shtick is stolen directly from I'm Gonna Git You Sucka? If you think you might answer yes to any of these questions, you're wrong (except maybe for the Carmen Electra thing). You don't want to see any of this. Trust me. Epic Movie's gross disregard for plot, character, comic timing, and the basic structure of a good joke hurt me. Don't let it hurt you.
In closing, let me recap: Epic Movie stinks. I didn't laugh once. Whatever you do, don't purchase it. Don't even rent it. It doesn't deserve a nickel of your hard earned money, or five seconds of your precious time.
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Scales of Justice
• Commentary by Writers-Directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
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