Massawyrm Has 1201 Words For MEET THE SPARTANS. None Of Them Good!!
Published at: Jan. 27, 2008, 1:46 a.m. CST by quint
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
When God first dreamt of giving awfulness to the world, this is what he imagined.
I almost want to dig into the archives, pull out and dust off my review for 300, run it through a find/replace and post it as my review for Meet the Spartans. But then there's the part of me that knows that not only would many of the readers not get the joke, writer/directors (and I use those words in the loosest of possible terms) Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg wouldn't find it in the least bit ironic. For them, it is standard operating procedure. To say that this movie is mindless, unfunny and insipid is to do disservice to the words mindless, unfunny and insipid. Not to mention, those words seem woefully inadequate after seeing this – much like Friedberg and Seltzer themselves.
I do not say this lightly. I've seen Postal. I've stood toe to toe with the man dubbed the very worst director in the world, Mr. Uwe Boll, and felt his hot breath and spittle as he screamed at me for ten long minutes. There is no love lost between me and the gap-toothed wonder. And yet I stand here today to tell you he no longer deserves the moniker 'worst in the world.' That crown has been stolen. By two thieves masquerading as comedians.
Friedman, Seltzer and their film Meet the Spartans all seem to operate under the assumption that if you make a pop culture reference, people will laugh. They don't seem to think that the reference needs to be in any way insightful, original or humorous. It just needs to be present and accounted for. Does it make any sense that Brittany Spears shows up, shaving her head in a barber's chair in front of the Spartan pit of death? Nope. And it makes even less sense when her kids, Fed-Ex, Ryan Seacrest and the judges of American Idol are all kicked in after that. But that doesn't stop these two from throwing that at you for what feels like five solid minutes and seemingly thinking along the way that this is, in some way or another, actually entertaining.
And when these two short bus riding tools aren't busy throwing non-sequiturs at you, they're surfing youtube for the finest in year old, vintage humor. Remember how funny it was the first time you saw the It's Raining Men cut of the 300 trailer? Well just imagine the comic genius of Friedman/Seltzer marching Leonidas and his 13 Spartans into battle while singing Gloria Gaynor's epic opus, I Will Survive. High-Larious! But wait, there's more. A lot more. In fact, would you believe there's actually humor to be mined…from 300…being somewhat…homoerotic? I…I never would have thought. I mean, Leonidas and all those half-naked Spartans? Gay? Wow. Bold choice for humor there guys. Never would have thought of that tact. Really cutting edge stuff. Last February.
Yeah. There's an old adage about two monkeys and a football that comes to mind.
But they're not done yet. Gay jokes aren't the only weapon in their comedic arsenal. No, when these two aren't sword fighting in the audience's mouth, or mistakenly thinking gay Spartan jokes are still funny, you feel the moments when their 'parodies' run out of steam. The joke seems to wear thin even on the filmmakers…and then they turn to reality television. The Judges from American Idol show up to judge a performance. The judges from America's Top Model show up to judge a body. The Judges from dancing with the Stars show up to judge a stomping of the yard between the Spartans and the Persians. If it has a panel of judges, it is referenced in this movie.
And don't worry if you don't get the joke. It wasn't funny anyway. But just to make sure, they put the signs of whatever they're parodying right next to the joke. Because what good is making a joke if you can't wink at the camera? And if they can't think of a visual cue, they'll explain it to you. There's even a point when Ugly Betty (in the role of the Spartan Oracle) whispers "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World," and Leonidas responds "I don't watch Heroes." Just in case you missed the reference.
I did not laugh ONCE. I did not smile ONCE. In fact the only reaction I had at all was my slack jawed disbelief at the sheer unabashed awfulness that is the final 15 minutes of this film. When Xerxes picks up the Transformers cube and merges with a car – then begins to broadcast the "Leave Brittany ALONE!" kid on his chest…my mind just kind of broke. I found it hard to process anything at all. I couldn't believe anyone, even Fox Executives, would think this was good enough for theatrical release. I mean, I would gladly let someone strap me down in the Clockwork Orange chair with a double feature of Bratz: The Movie and Daddy Day Camp if it meant getting out of seeing this a second time. Hell, I'd even let Harry give me a full monty lapdance complete with a short and curly carwash if it kept me from further viewings of the previous films as well.
It should be no surprise that this thing is riddled with Mad TV actors – and sadly not even the ones that could be loosely referred to as the most talented of that lot. In the previous incarnations of this film (Date Movie and Epic Movie, both also written and directed by these two intellectual giants) they somehow managed to rope some talented folks into roles. People like Allison Hannigan, Kal Penn, Fred Willard and Crispin Glover. Now apparently only Carmen Electra and Kevin Sorbo will take their calls. People are starting to catch on. The word is out about these guys. Even Uwe can scare up a Jason Statham or a Ben Kingsley every now and again. These guys can't even do that anymore.
And that does my heart good. Because this gravy train appears to be over. The previous two movies in this irredeemable series made money only because they were dumped in the unbearable wasteland that is January. But tonight as I stood in line outside of the theatre I heard the people ahead of me saying "Two for Cloverfield." "Three for Rambo." "One for Cloverfield." "Two for Cloverfield." "Rambo, please." Then it came to my turn at bat. The cashiers eyes fell to her cash register as I muttered Meet the Spartans. She gave me that sad you poor bastard look. When I went inside the manager recognized me. "Hey, you here for Rambo again?" I shook my head and told him the truth. "Oh. Oh. Well…you should really ask for me next time. You…you shouldn't have to pay for that."
No one should. The only thing that brought a smile to my face tonight was seeing the emptiness of the theatre before the movie started and seeing it even emptier by the end. If there's any justice in this world, after this weekend, Uwe can go back to being the worlds worst working director. Stick a fork in these douchebags. They're done.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.