Thursday, January 25, 2007

EPIC MOVIE: A Few Hits, Mostly Misses

EPIC MOVIE (comedy parody)
Cast: Adam Campbell, Jayma Mays, Faune Chambers and Kal Penn
Director: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
Time: 72 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)
The Movie Poster
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? After “Scary Movie” and “Date Movie”, we had to see this one coming. Yeah, “Epic Movie” spoofs the so-called franchise blockbusters of 2005-2006 in the same irreverent vein and style. And just like the earlier efforts, this largely uninspired “Epic Movie” manages to elicit a few chuckles, but rarely laugh-out-loud moments.
The plot, about the adventures of four ‘orphans’ styled after the children of the “Chronicles of Narnia” franchise, barely binds the spoofs together – and it is all a matter of hit-and-miss as directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer take pot-shots at our recent favourite movies.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? The four not-so-young kids are Lucy (Jayma Mays) who is brought up by the curator (David Carraddine) of The Louvre (where a masochistic albino lurks near the famous Da Vinci exhibit); Edward (Kal Penn), a refugee from a Mexican monastery which ‘secretly’ practises ‘libre’ wrestling; Susan (Faune Chambers), a victim of snakes running loose on a plane; and Peter (Adam Campbell), a student of a Mutant (read X-Men) Academy. Somehow, these guys stumble on a Golden Ticket to visit a famous Chocolate Factory where they (again!) stumble into an Enchanted Wardrobe that transports them into the Magical Land of Gnarnia.

Here, they meet a faun, a talking beaver, a horny Lion and a White Bitch – and even find a scruffy Pirate Captain from the Caribbean wheeling himself into the fray. And while you are counting the number of famous movies spoofed, add in a superhero who wears his knickers on the outside; a bunch of not-so-young students at a School of Wizardry, and personalities like an heiress of a global hotel chain, and an asinine journalist from Kazakhstan.

HIGHLIGHTS & LOWLIGHTS: It appears that Friedberg and Seltzer are more interested in covering as many ‘blockbusters’ as they can, rather than in getting more fun and laughter out of them. Yes, Carmen Electra is a sight to behold as the dyed-blue Mystique; Jennifer Coolidge works hard to behave like the White Bitch, while Crispin Glover is wasted with only a little screen time as Willy the wonky owner of a chocolate factory. “Epic Movie” seems to work like a nostalgic freak show as the film-makers expect us to be tickled just by the sight of these familiar characters. Sitting through the movie, we can see a number of potential gags gone to waste or underdeveloped while we get repeated sequences of Gnarnia battles and ‘aging’ jokes.

THE LOWDOWN: One thing we can be thankful for is that “Epic Movie” is not structured in the ‘epic footage’ of more than two hours. It closes at a pleasant 72 minutes. Jagshemash, thank goodness for small mercies.


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