Review: Epic Movie (2007)

Epic Movie

Epic Movie

Rating



Director

Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer

Screenplay

Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer

Length

86 min.

Starring

Kal Penn, Adam Campbell, Jennifer Coolidge, Jayma Mays, Faune A. Chambers, Crispin Glover, Tony Cox, Hector Jimenez, Darrell Hammond, Carmen Electra, Fred Willard, David Carradine, David Lehre, Kevin McDonald, George Alvarez, Crista Flanagan

MPAA Rating

PG-13 (For crude and sexual humor, language and some comic violence)

Buy/Rent Movie

Soundtrack

Poster

Review

The makers of the Scary Movie franchise and Date Movie have taken several other genres (fantasy, action and superhero) and blended them for a film called Epic Movie.

Choosing the title implies something the creators probably didn’t intend. The true epics were films like Lawrence of Arabia or Ben-Hur. Those films were larger than life, filmed on a grand scale and spanned many years. Epic Movie is anything but epic.

The film centers around four childlike adults who, under unusual circumstances, come upon golden tickets to go to a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-themed fantasy world. There, they uncover an evil plot by Willy (Crispin Glover) to eat them. They escape into the world of Narnia where they meet even more colorful characters.

There are dozens of films that earn a parody, including The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Pirates of the Caribbean, X-Men and Harry Potter. That Chronicles of Narnia is the closest approximation the film has to a true epic is a significant point of concern.

Kal Penn and Adam Campbell play Edward and Peter, the sons of Adam. Jayma Mays and Faune A. Chambers play Lucy and Susan, the daughters of Eve. None of them are terribly gifted actors and when push comes to shove their overzealous portrayals of stereotypes become tedious and irritating. Jennifer Coolidge as the White Bitch and Glover give the only two noteworthy performances, each relishing the cheesiness of their characters. That they still aren’t award-worthy performances matters little with they seem to be having so much fun.

And that’s all the film is: fun. While there are some rather poor and groan-worthy scenes in the film, there are plenty of movie-skewering moments that tickle the funny bone. Unfortunately, the uninvolving plot, ludicrous parody restaging and consistent assault on continuity, serve as enough distractions to make the film little more than a 86-minute late night comedy sketch.

Scary Movie was a more consistently funny film as it poked fun at a genre that continuously takes itself too seriously. It was one of the reasons why Scream and its sequels worked so well. Horror films lend themselves well to parody. We want to find humor in things that scare us. With fantasy and action films, we find ourselves transported to new worlds and places that we might not otherwise experience. There’s plenty of safety in enjoying those films.

In addition, we have plenty of spoof films to look back at that do exactly what Epic Movie did. Airplane!, the works of Mel Brooks and the Naked Gun films have all tackled the film parodies contained in this film before. And they’ve done much better jobs at entertaining. And that’s where Epic Movie so simply fails. Scary Movie had no real predecessors to which to compare. Thus, we had a more enjoyable time seeing recent horror films spoofed. Epic Movie felt more like a retread than it would have had we not had such a wonderful history of non-horror parodies from which to choose.

Review Written

June 30, 2007

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