Sunday, February 25, 2007

Epic Movie (2007)

I was looking for one and one thing only from Epic Movie: that it be better than Date Movie. In that, I was not disappointed. The improvement is partially due to writer/directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer's wiser choice of target this time around (i.e. they're mostly picking on films that aren't already comedies) and partially due to a more explicit aping of the ZAZ parodic template. Simply put, they've actually figured out that jokes need punchlines to be jokes, and they actually sprinkle a few throughout the bulk of Epic Movie. I'll admit that, to my surprise, I chuckled a few times -- there's a quick gag in the Nacho Libre parody that's arguably funnier than anything in Nacho Libre, and the line "The king wants a monobrow!" is a keeper. Plus, Jayma Mays does the enthusiastic dizziness of Anna Faris nearly as well as Faris herself. Despite these encouraging advances, it is still mostly crap. Now that Friedberg and Seltzer have figured out what it is to tell a joke, they need to work on quality control; the well of inspiration runs dry pretty quickly for these two guys, and for every decent joke there's twelve or thirteen that fall to the firmament with a thud. The ADD-scattershot desire to parody everything in sight results in some ill-advised attempts at tackling subjects that essentially resist parody, especially from two guys who are fundamentally lowest-common-denominator hacks (i.e. the brief but clumsy attempt to poke fun at Borat); furthermore, the two too often revert to the lazy slight-exaggeration stuff that made Date Movie a horror to behold. They really never get around to topping the early bit wherein Crispin Glover-playing-Johnny Depp-playing-Willy Wonka boogies down to "Fergalicious"; the mere fact that a sight that unexpected and surreal made it into the film, though, at least shows that this time around someone was trying to think. We take what we can get around here.

Grade: C


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