Thursday, August 28, 2008

what a Disaster this Movie was

Lionsgate Films' Disaster Movie
Jason Friedberg and Adam Seltzer--the two guys who did EPIC MOVIE, DATE MOVIE, SCARY MOVIE, and MEET THE SPARTANS--bring you DISASTER MOVIE, a compendium of gross-out gags and reference-check quasi-satire bits aping THE INCREDIBLE HULK, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, JUMPER, ENCHANTED, DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN, SEX AND THE CITY, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, and so on. The story is structured via CLOVERFIELD with Will (Matt Lanter), after having a 10,000 B.C.-style dream involving an Amy Winehouse look-a-like (Nicole Parker), races against time to rescue his girlfriend (Vanessa Minnillo) who is trapped in a museum with references to TWISTER; meanwhile kids who look like the teens from SUPERBAD try and score booze. What? Along for the ride are a JUNO-esque slacker girl (Crista Flanagan) and Gary "G-Thang" Johnson; there are take-offs of ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, and celebrity impersonations of Dr. Phil, Michael Jackson, the real Kim Kardashian, and the ubiquitous Carmen Electra; lots of dances and fights and dance/fights (à la STEP UP and STEP UP 2 THE STREETS). The comedy talent here is mostly imported from MAD TV, particularly Parker, who also does ENCHANTED and a mean Jessica Simpson. The recipe here, as before, is to cram in as many pop-culture references as possible, douse liberally with gross bodily fluids, and serve face forward. In other words, it's the perfect film for loud shouts and inappropriate laughter with a roomful of one's most off-color cohorts.
This one, coming so closely on the heels of Meet The Spartans, has even less going for it than its very average predecessor. It's incremental really. The more times you plough the same ground, the less fertile the soil becomes. Since they have so little material to work with in the first place, Friedberg and Seltzer take each joke well beyond its limits. Disaster Movie nods towards a string of action blockbusters, from Cloverfield to The Hulk and Iron Man to The Dark Knight. But since the big guns don't provide enough comedic color, the story is an explosion of pop culture references - Alvin And The Chipmunks, Kung Fu Panda, Juno, Hannah Montana and Enchanted, to name a few. The latter is represented by a psychotic sewer princess (Nicole Parker), who gives the film what life it has. Even Sex And The City gets a look in - with a transvestite Carrie Bradshaw who rumbles a heavily pregnant Juney (Crista Flanagan). It sounds funnier than it is.
Disaster Movie is one of those rare films that has absolutely nothing to recommend it. It's not bad enough to be good and not even awful enough to offend. A sad 2 on my ""Go See" scale.

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