Wednesday, May 28, 2008


SUPERHERO MOVIE (comedy spoof)

Cast: Drake Bell, Sara Paxton, Christopher McDonald, Leslie Nielsen and Pamela Anderson
Director: Craig Mazin
Time: 85 mins
Rating: * 1/2 (out of 4)

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? When a movie spends almost 10 minutes of its running time on fart jokes, you know it is another excruciating laughless dud. "Superhero Movie", made in the same vein as "Meet The Spartans" and "Epic Movie", tries to poke fun at the "Spider-Man" franchise. It fails because it is neither funny nor fun!

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? High school nerd Rick Riker (Drake Bell) lives with dear Aunt Lucille (Marion Ross) and Uncle Albert (Leslie Nielsen) after the death of his parents (a'la "Batman Begins"). He’s in love with Jill Johnson (Sara Paxton), but she barely knows he exists and is dating the school jock Lance (Ryan Hansen). While on a field trip to a local science lab, Rick
is bitten by a radioactive insect. Soon, he develops super powers, like incredible reflexes and the ability to climb walls. He becomes the Dragonfly.

Meanwhile, corporate boss Lou Landers (Christopher McDonald), who is suffering from a terminal disease, does an experimental DNA procedure to find a cure. The procedure backfires, turning him into a demon that needs to extract living energy from others to survive. To achieve immortality, thousands must die, as Landers transforms in a supervillain called
the Hourglass. Now it's up to Rick to save the city and win over his lady-love.

HITS & MISSES: While "Spider-Man" is the primary target of spoofs, writer-director Craig Mazin also take pot-shots at other superhero flicks like "The X-Men", "The Fantastic Four" and "Batman Begins". Very few of these work because the timing is off, the gags are too crude, or they are just sight gags with cameo appearances. We have actors impersonating Tom Cruise (playd by Miles Fisher), Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama, and even a voice-boxed Stephen Hawking (Robert Joy) but none are hilarious enough to provoke giggles. Others making cameo appearances include Charlene Tilton, Robert Hays, Lil’ Kim, Craig Bierko and Regina Hall.

The producers must have thought the presence of veteran spoof-star Leslie Nielsen would help liven things up but his lines are too lame. Drake Bell and Sara Paxton acquit themselves well enough, portraying superhero and romantic interest (respectively) and they aptly bring back memories of Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson.

THE LOWDOWN: Most of the 'funny' stuff are in the trailer and if you have seen it, you have seen them all.


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