Saturday, May 8, 2010
IMDb Bottom 100 Countdown:
#99 - Meet the Spartans (2008)
In 2006, a movie came out that looked so epic, every high school sophomore with a Y chromosome felt obligated to see it. 300, although it had epic music and cool visuals, wasn't the amazing movie that many, myself included, thought it would be. Still, it was a solid hack-and-slash flick with a historical setting, and the action was reason enough for me to buy it on Blu ray when it came out.
Fast forward two years, and Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, makers of such hilarious classics Airplane and Monty Python and the Holy Grail... wait, that wasn't them? Oh right, these are the guys who wrote the Scary Movie series, Date Movie, Epic Movie, and later Disaster Movie, the latter two which I have to watch in this countdown. Anyways, Friedberg and Seltzer had the bright idea to write a movie chalk full of pop culture references and parodies the movie 300. These guys are geniuses of comedy, how could this be on the Bottom 100? Am I right? Guys? Guys...?
If you've seen 300, then you know the basic plot of this movie: Boy becomes king, king goes south into the sea... er wait, I guess Thermopylae is south of Sparta now... king goes south to Thermopylae, king break-dance fights some Persians, gay jokes are made, Xerxes turns into a Transformer and falls on top of Leonidas. Not the Battle of Thermopylae you remember reading in Herodotus? Yeah, it's a parody, so I guess you just have to go with it.
My friends once told me they rented this movie and couldn't make it thought the first 15 minutes. I now can see why. Almost nothing in this movie is funny. While some bad movies are so horrible that they become funny, this movie does not fall into that category.
Almost every joke in the movie comes in three different forms: The pop culture reference, the callow slapstick comedy, and, if all else fails, the swear bear.
The pop culture references were pretty awful. But the movie wouldn't be all that bad if it weren't for the reliance on juvenile humor every time they couldn't figure out how to make an American Idol reference, and the "Oh shit!" if even that didn't work.
For example, for the very first joke of the movie, a man is inspecting babies to make sure they aren't deformed, the same way 300 starts. He is holding an infant, and opens to swaddling cloths to reveal a mini Shrek, who says "Ah, are you my mama?" which MIGHT be considered funny by some, and I seriously considered laughing. However, he follows up with "'Cause I'm ready to suckle a teat!" and then proceeds to launch green projectile ooze-vomit all over the person holding him. Lawl. As you can see, the joke might have been somewhat funny if they had just left well enough alone. In fact, without all the immature, puerile humor, this movie might could have been a solid 3 or 4 out of 10. But of course, not a minute could go by without reference to pee pee, poopie, boobies, pukey, or other jokes that would only make a maladjusted ten year old laugh.
Also, the girl who played Paris Hilton/Ephialtes (along with many other characters) looked a lot like Ashely Tisdale. Just an observation.
As it stands, the movie was probably a 2/10, less than its current 2.4 rating on IMDb. It was painful to watch, and I kept shaking my mouse to check how much time was left I had to check Karla every five minutes to make sure she wasn't sleeping, because if I'm going to suffer through it, I sure as hell am taking someone with me. While it didn't make me want to never watch another crappy movie, I sure don't look forward to watching Epic Movie and Disaster Movie when their time comes. I will probably need some back up.
As an additional note, one thing that I found interesting was the fact that, although Carmen Electra, mainstay of Playboy features, starred as Queen Margo, there was absolutely no nudity in this movie. I'm not saying this was an issue, it was just interesting that a parody movie that relied heavily on booby jokes had less nudity than the source material. I guess they knew that they would have a hard enough time making their money back with a PG-13 rating, and that an R would have made the movie a financial flop. Interestingly, this movie actually made over $50 million dollars more than it cost to produce. If that doesn't make you lose faith in America, nothing will.
[As the Spartans are pushing the Persians into the sea]
Unidentified Persian: *Wilhelm Scream*
(Sorry, I can't find a video of this)
Posted by Mark Irish at 10:36 PM