It is not as if we were expecting something of the caliber of Airplane! from the makers of Scary Movie, Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans—but when the laugh count descends to single digits, it is time to bring in fresh blood. Writer/director/producers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer are batting well under .100 this summer, and instead of evolving as filmmakers they have sunk into the dark brown sticky smelly stuff that serves as one of Disaster Movie’s favorite metaphors.
It is irritating that every film mocked—from Alvin and the Chipmunks to Juno to The Dark Knight—is more clever than Disaster Movie. Film reference after film reference is paraded before the camera—without benefit of narrative structure, without rhyme or reason, and worse, without a shred of humor.
The “jokes” are limp and pathetic or stillborn, timing is ignored, performances are a not-so-giddy mug-fest. Audiences are left wondering when the freshman cast is going to learn the rudiments of performing. Production values are terrible, but whether this is intentional or not is difficult to say. Friedberg and Seltzer may have thought ersatz tornadoes and bouncing boulders are funnier than well-designed catastrophes. When a meteor plops on Lisa (Kim Kardashian), we do not know whether we are supposed to laugh or cry. Since neither she nor anyone in the cast has earned an atom of sympathy, indifference is the most appropriate response.
Sometime after a giggling tribute to Miley Cyrus, we begin to sense that there is a romance between Will (Matt Lanter), who cannot handle commitment (sound familiar?), and the beautiful Amy (Vanessa Minnilo), who follows him through arbitrary adventures waiting to hear the words, “I love you” (sound overly familiar?).
It is not enough that Jason Boegh in a dress looks like Sex and the City’s Sarah Jessica Parker on steroids. He ought to say something funny, instead of mutely glaring at the camera like a potato bug. Indeed, much of the film is filled with uncomfortable silences where actors stare awkwardly into the void, apparently waiting for dialogue that never arrives.
In an effort to be shocking, the camera holds onto any image intended to be raunchy as long as possible, but since we have already seen this stuff in other, better films, it is all a big yawn. Where are the Farrelly Brothers when you really need them?
During closing credits there are deadly dull outtakes meant to present a friendlier, more spontaneous Disaster Movie. They are even less funny than what has transpired. Audiences who linger through these closing efforts hoping for one witty moment are officially warned.
Here’s an updated Annie for today’s entitled, tech-savvy and racially diverse generation of tweens who can easily relate to the new Annie’s love of luxurious toys. Their parents and other adults may miss the sweet innocence of the original, but they won’t be entirely bored by this frenetic new version of her classic story. More »
After rewriting the rules for modern fantasy cinema, for the better and worse, Peter Jackson’s six-film Tolkien saga slams, bangs and shudders to a long-overdue conclusion. More »
» Blue Sheets
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