Epic Movie (2007) (part 1 of 11)

The Cast of Characters:
Adam Campbell, Jayma Mays, Faune Chambers and Kal Penn as Peter, Lucy, Susan and EdwardPeter, Lucy, Susan and Edward (Adam Campbell, Jayma Mays, Faune Chambers and Kal Penn). Four orphans whose Golden Tickets entitle them to an “epic adventure” consisting mainly of meandering through cheap knock-offs of familiar movie sets. Only the two males have anything resembling character arcs, because girls are just stupid and useless.
Jennifer Coolidge as The White BitchThe White Bitch (Jennifer Coolidge). Usurping ruler of the magical land of “Gnarnia”. She’s not so much evil as woefully incompetent. Also, at one point she turns into a squid.
Fred Willard as AsloAslo (Fred Willard). Famous half-man/half-lion and true King of “Gnarnia”. He’s old, he drinks, he hits on everybody, he looks ridiculous, and his jokes aren’t funny. He’s the movie version of my uncle Fishke.
Darrell Hammond as Captain Jack SwallowsCaptain Jack Swallows (Darrell Hammond). Nothing need be mentioned about this character except that Darrell Hammond said he wanted Johnny Depp to be impressed. I doubt “impressed” was the first word that came to Johnny Depp’s mind.
Carmen Electra as MystiqueMystique (Carmen Electra). Carmen was nominated for a Razzie for this performance. If you can see the image to the left, you’ve seen everything she does in the movie.

Ah, comedy. It’s so very… funny.

One rainy night in 1980, a small, independent production company named Paramount Pictures released an obscure movie called Airplane!, and a new comedy genre was born: the absurdist, freewheeling, throw-every-joke-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks movie spoof.

Of course, spoofs were nothing new. But Airplane! played more fast and loose with the rules of cinema than any movie that had come before it. For the first time, a comedy didn’t have to make a lick of sense. Characters could change intelligence in an instant. The plot didn’t have to be consistent or satisfying. And reality was a more elastic concept than is usually considered polite.

There have been similar reality-bending spoofs over the decades, but it wasn’t until the success of Scary Movie that the studios realized a film of this nature could make money without actually being good. This is because there exists a contingent of Americans who watch movies based solely on the commercials. People who wait until they’re actually in line at the theater before deciding what to see. This contingent is generally known as “teenage boys”, and as long as the trailer promises them exactly what they want—hot women and fart jokes—a movie can easily make a profit before anyone realizes it’s horrible.

These days, “spoofs” generally consist of an arbitrary collection of scenes copied verbatim from other movies, only on a lesser budget, and with lesser talents involved. All studios really need are filmmakers who can come up with enough references to other, better films to fill up a two-minute trailer. As long as these filmmakers are on time, under budget, and don’t raise too much of a fuss about their “art”, the suits don’t really care what else they do. (And likewise, it seems these filmmakers themselves don’t really care what else they do, either.)

Studios found the perfect candidates in college friends and former shoe store owners Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg. Their first effort, Date Movie, cost Fox $20 million and grossed $85 million worldwide. It also scored 6% on Rotten Tomatoes, but, in general, if you more than quadruple your studio’s money, they let you make another film.

On January 26, 2007, they released Epic Movie. It cost about the same, and grossed $87 million. Most critics agreed with Jason Anderson of the Globe and Mail who said, “[T]his filmmaking team has created a series of spoof movies so feeble, shoddy and unfunny that they may be part of a diabolical, Manchurian Candidate-like plot.”

The problem with Friedberg and Seltzer isn’t that they’re not funny. It’s that they’re aggressively not funny. They write lazily, they steal with impunity, and they take money brazenly. They don’t seem to care if they entertain anybody, so long as they get paid.

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Jordon Davis

B.A. Political Science, SUNY Albany - 1991
Master of Public Administration, University of Georgia - 1993
Juris Doctorate, Emory University - 1996

State of Georgia - 1996
State of New York - 1997

Fields Medal (with Laurent Lafforgue and Vladimir Voevodsky) - 1998

Follow Jordon at @LossLeader on Twitter.

Multi-Part Article: Epic Movie (2007)

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  • Beigewood

    i really loved this movie. thanks for posting all of the great stills in your recap!

    • Nasty In The Pasty

      You are an idiot.

    • Servonator

      I second what Nasty in the Pasty said: you have to be one massive idiot to gloss over all of the text going into detail as to why this movie sucks mothballs just to ogle over a few pictures they posted. That, or you’re really good at being unfunny. …Say, you don’t happen to be either Seltzer or Friedberg, do you?

  • Actually, I think that the fact that Wonka makes candy out of people may have came from a theory about “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” where it is believed that well, Wonka makes candy out of people. The joke is a reference? Why am I not surprised?

  • Kenneth Peter Shinn

    Oops. “Oogay”? It’s not pig-Latin, it’s real Latin. Spelt “euge”, it’s the language’s equivalent of “hooray” or “woo hoo”. For what that’s worth. Some pedantry for y’all.