But Holy Shit! You want to talk about an easy ass paycheck for Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, this writing job was it, man! This time they're also both credited as director, which makes me wonder if maybe the producers refused to pay them both unless they could actually see both of them actually working.
Satire is a brilliant form of skewed thought that forces the audience to think about the subject matter. Farce is a similar, more comical and sublime form of surreal comedy. Spoof exists in the same realm as Farce but relies on elements of satire to pave its way (meaning, it takes elements from other sources and makes fun of them). However, Spoof doesn't always come off as brilliant. Spoof often comes off as a retread or a rip off. Welcome to the Realm of Aaron and Jason.
Epic Movie, like Scary Movie and Date Movie before it takes a series of scenes from the movies it wants to spoof and retreads them in a somewhat more comical manner. Generally that can be hilarious in concept, but also like these dudes' previous works here we see both scenes from serious flicks and from comedies spoofed here, often with nearly identical results. When the original version was comical anyway, what's the solution? Gross Out Humor. Hey, it worked in Date Movie.
No it didn't.
From the belabored scenes of four "Epic Movies" (Nacho Libre[?], X-Men: The Last Stand, The Da Vinci Code and Snakes on a Plane respectively) four Orphan Children named Edward (29 year old Kal Penn), Peter (Adam Campbell), Lucy (27 year old Jayma Mays) and Susan (30 year old Faune A. Chambers) all boggart Golden Tickets to Willy Wonka's (Crispin Glover) repulsive Chocolate Factory. After a series of tasteless sight gags, they end up in the magical world of Gnarnia (with a silent G) where they follow almost exactly the plot of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe while lacing through as many other big flicks as they could think of for the next hour or so. Oddly enough for a movie that attempts to get the goat of so very many other movies, Epic Movie is less than an hour and a half long.
As they muddle through the borrowed tale of Lion-Man Aslo (Fred Willard) and his struggle against his nemesis The White Bitch (Jennifer Coolidge), Aaron and Jason proudly point out what they're spoofing at every corner, to make sure that the groundlings in the audience "get it" (which assumes that everyone who buys a ticket is a moron... and they are). The use of aging actors to play kids (Note the ages of the leads) is spoofed in the sequence concerning Harry Potter (played by 45 year old "kid" in the hall Kevin McDonald). The practice of adding extra scenes to the end of an EPIC MOVIE's credit sequence is played out as Scene after Scene after Scene interrupts the black and white and never read scroll over and over. But there's no actual scene AFTER the Credits. After you see the phony Mel Gibson, feel free to flee, flea. The commonality of stunt people looking nothing like the actors they are doubling is made fun of with anything-but-seamless transitions and close ups of the square-peg stunt people played for laughs.
Laughs are only occasional however, as the film makers are really simply recapping other, better movies with sight gags, cheap imitations and base, LCD mentality. Where a plot hole exists, it's easily filled with Potty Humor, coupled with enough fake farts to cause a San Andreas Rift. Further, almost every angle Aaron and Jason take on the "comedy" addition is a repeat of the same gags they used in last year's Date Movie, only this time limply wrapped around the plot of Narnia rather than limply draped all over the plot of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Oh, and hey, instead of spoofing "Pimp My Ride", they spoof "Cribs"!
Make no mistake, though, this film goes much further than hosing only Narnia, Da Vinci, Nacho, X3, Snakes, Potter and Chocolate Factory. No, unfortunately we're exposed unwittingly to the long and short of Superman Returns, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Scarface and Borat amongst many others, many of which are so dead in the water they've submerged. That's not to say they fit well... no, they don't. Where an idea deemed funny by the writer/ director douches needs attention, they just shove it in the dough and pray it will rise. And it's all held together by the narrative voice of Roscoe Lee Browne, whom I would have thought was made of sterner stuff (they must have given him only his part of the script).
Is the film all bad? Not entirely, but there are long, long waits in between guffaws unless you're either barely post-pubescent in age or mentality or a hyena on nitrous oxide therapy. For one thing, the lead actors are at worst pretty good and always at least passable. Jayma Mays is a cute, hot replacement for the absent Anna Faris and she plays the "Dumbshit" role well without losing her appeal. Still, it's hard to believe her character model is that far removed from Faris'. On that note, it's hard to take too much issue with the yummy performance of Carmen Electra as mutantdom's Nearly Naked Mystique! YUM! Occasionally the film bunts a single in the laugh category, pulling off what it clearly thinks it's succeeding at all the way through. Also, it's fun to check out the many cameos in this film and the way those actors have been matched with their ACTUAL Epic Movie counterparts. The same can be somewhat stated for the way these varied spoofed flicks are meshed together... at least a quarter of the time.
Still, all of these things amount to an uneasy mixture of jack and shit in the final product. Not only is this yet another repeat of the same one off tricks that these geeks have been doing for a while now, but Epic Movie really feels more like a drinking game with only Jason and Aaron playing. I sort of picture them sitting around and watching DVDs, snorting through their thin cloud of smoke and saying "Aw, dude, wouldn't it be funny if right there she farted?". Then the response would be "Dude, it SO would!". Then whomever had the free hand would write that down.
Lazy. The script is as lazy as the title. What's next? War Movie? Hanks goes to save Private Ryan, but he discovers that the kid is using the bathroom. Sci-Fi Movie? Some jerks go to blow up "The Death Turd", but they discover that it's been conquered by the Xenomorphs from Alien and they all have gastro intestinal issues. Movie Movie? Aaron and Jason are so consumed by spoofing comedies that they start to spoof their own "work" to the point that it's even less funny? Yeah... that crap might not even get Two Stars out of Five as Epic Movie does. Hmmm... actually, maybe I'll just sell those ideas to the makers of the Bloody Murder series. They love ripping off crap and calling it art. Argh! Crap on a stick! I'll see you in the next reel!
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I don't see the point anymore, man.
Hey, Bitchy-poo, that crown of yours is really cool!
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Chronicles of gNarnia? Aw, I thought it was the Chronicles of EPIC!