Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer must be stopped!
If you're not familiar with Friedberg and Seltzer by name, you definitely know they're work. They're the brain trust that's plagued the world with such unfunny fare as EPIC MOVIE and DATE MOVIE.
Their latest abomination, MEET THE SPARTANS, follows their pat formula of lifting phrases and images from films released in the year prior mixed with "topical" references to pop culture and television. They take this motley mix and try to hang them around the general plot of a hit film or two. This time around the wondertwins attempt to poke fun at Zach Snyder's 300 by, get this, playing up the idea of the half-dressed buff guys might seem a little gay! Wow, I never thought of that before, nor did anyone else, I'm sure! That Friedberg and Seltzer saw that there might be some homoeroticism in 300 is certainly astounding, if not absolutely groundbreaking.
Apart from the gay jokes, MEET THE SPARTANS is awash in bad semi-celebrity impersonators and references to reality shows such as "American Idol," "Deal or No Deal," "Dancing with the Stars," and "America's Next Top Model." These television asides don't fit with the ancient Greece setting and, I guess that's what is supposed to make them funny. There are a lot of things in MEET THE SPARTANS that attempt to be humorous--like the whole film--but fail miserably.
What ever happened to parody films that take on a genre or at least a subgenre of films? BLAZING SADDLES eschewed the Western, AIRPLANE! the disaster film, even the crappy NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE had the good sense to compare the then-current bunch of teen flicks with John Hughes's films, but the crop of films from Friedberg and Seltzer are sloppy hodgepodges that may as well have a countdown clock to the next punchline flashing in the corner of the screen to give viewers ample opportunity to visit the concession stand during the down time before the next Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, or Lindsay Lohan reference or fart joke. Yes, the humor is that broad.
The film's greatest strength may also be its biggest sore point. That they're paying for such tripe is bad enough but with ticket costs rocketing north as fast as gas prices, paying $8-$10 for a mere sixty-five minutes of "entertainment" might leave theater-goers more than a little miffed. Is there any surer sign that there just wasn't enough "funny" to go around? Don't worry, though, Friedberg and Seltzer fans -- an unrated DVD release with even more hilarity and gay jokes is sure to hit shelves in three or four months.