Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cheerleader Autopsy (2003)

* PT: Blake. Wadpaw: To learn the family business, I guess.

* That title's supposed to be a warning, right? So why did I feel compelled to watch it? Maybe for the same reason I watched Hookers in a Haunted House: Because I'm stupid.

* What the hell is the film even about? There isn't a plot to speak of; instead, things happen until they stop happening. The things in question are loosely organized around a bus crash that kills a group of cheerleaders, but that doesn't mean that you couldn't rearrange all the scenes before the crash and all the scenes after the crash without losing coherence.

* One gets the impression watching the lowbrow yuks on display here that the people who made this fancy themselves clever and daring and dangerous or something. We get jokes about necrophilia, castration, abortion, cannibalism, fetus-eating, testicle-eating and so on and so on as director Stu Dodge tries his hardest to convince us that he'll go to any length to shock and entertain. But there's no panache or tonal control -- it's mere juvenile sniggering at an atrocity exhibition, a gross-out gag that rolls on with no end in sight. John Waters, this dude ain't.

* The first fart joke comes two minutes after the credits, if that gives you any idea of the level of wit on display.

* Makeup FX are atrocious, which is often true of no-budget productions. The problem is that we're allowed to stare at the rubber and paper-mache at length, so that the film stops being a gross-out horror comedy and starts being a study on bad actors manhandling latex. At least when Lloyd Kaufman uses a cranberry-sauce-filled melon to simulate a crushed head, he knows enough to cut away after the gag is done instead of letting us linger on it.

* There's precious little nudity for a cheerleader film, and most of what we get is male nudity. (Cocks are a preoccupation.) What bloody audience was this made for, anyway?

* So yeah, it's abysmal, but it's not even abysmal in a fun way or a way that allows a viewer to mock it. It's sad and pathetic in about equal measure, with great heaping dollops of misogyny to add flavor. If this accurately represents the sensibilities of Dodge & company, I'm pretty glad I don't know them.

* I admit I laughed once at a faux magazine headline that linked fetus consumption to a cure for Alzheimer's. I thought the wording was amusing, though I don't remember it anymore. I'm not proud of that laugh.

* The bottom line is, asking an audience to pay any amount of money to see this is the height of hubris. If I had somehow created this hopeless piece of shit, I wouldn't expect (or even really want) anyone who didn't know me to bother watching it. The fact that someone thought this was worth releasing into the public is more disturbing than anything actually in the film.

Grade: F


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