Friday, June 14, 2013

Review: "Superhero Movie" a MAD Spoof of Spider-Man

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 18 (of 2008) by Leroy Douresseaux

Superhero Movie (2008)
Running time: 85 minutes (1 hour, 25 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for crude and sexual content, comic violence, drug references, and language
PRODUCERS: Craig Mazin, Robert K. Weiss, and David Zucker
EDITOR: Craig Herring
COMPOSER: James L. Venable


Starring: Drake Bell, Sara Paxton, Christopher McDonald, Leslie Nielsen, Kevin Hart, Marion Ross, Ryan Hansen, Keith David, Brent Spiner, Robert Joy, Jeffrey Tambor, Tracy Morgan, Regina Hall, and Pamela Anderson

The subject of this movie review is Superhero Movie, a 2008 comedy spoof film from writer-director Craig Mazin. The film stars Drake Bell as a teen-turned-superhero.

Superhero Movie, which spoofs (of course) superhero movies, is not in the vein of such classic spoof films as Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, but is certainly a sibling of films like the Scary Movie series, Date Movie, and Epic Movie. In fact, Superhero Movie’s writer/director, Craig Mazin, co-wrote Scary Movie 3 and 4, and like Scary Movie, Superhero Movie has enough fart jokes and necrophilia to charm all preteen and teen male demographics.

High school loser Rick Riker (Drake Bell) pines away for Jill Johnson (Sara Paxton), the prettiest girl in school, but she hardly knows that Rick exists since her eyes are on Rick’s tormentor, the school bully, Lance Landers (Ryan Hansen). After being bitten by a genetically altered dragonfly, Rick develops superhuman abilities like incredible strength and armored skin. Deciding to use his new powers for good, Rick becomes a costumed crime fighter known as “The Dragonfly.”

However, any superhero needs a super villain, and standing in the way of Rick’s destiny is “The Hourglass.” After an experiment goes wrong, Lou Landers (Christopher McDonald) develops the power to steal a person's life force merely by grabbing that person’s hand. In a dastardly quest for immortality, Landers/The Hourglass plots to kill 1000 people in a single life force assault. Will Rick/The Dragonfly, with his unimaginable strength, unbelievable speed and deeply uncomfortable tights, be able to stop The Hourglass? And will he stay a virgin forever or get with Jill?

Although Superhero Movie pokes fun at the X-Men film franchise, and to a lesser extent Batman Begins, Fantastic Four, and Superman Returns, most of this movie is a comic riff on 2002 film, Spider-Man. Think of Superhero Movie as a MAD Magazine spoof of the first Spider-Man film, but with the kind of raw gross out humor that is way too much in bad taste to ever make it into the modern MAD. Talk about un-PC: Rick’s Uncle Albert (played in his inimitable style by Leslie Nielsen) humps the corpse of a pretty girl!

But is this movie funny? The answer is very much so. Craig Mazin’s script could be seen as inspired lunacy or being so shamelessly in bad taste that he should be shunned from polite society. Sometimes, it seems as if this movie has a thousand visual gags, clever and otherwise, but they trigger belly laughs – even the jokes that Mazin and his cast and crew can’t quite pull off.

5 of 10

Sunday, March 30, 2008

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