Meet the Spartans
There are two kinds of people in the world. There is the
kind who will see a movie poster which reads “by the creators of Date
Movie and Epic Movie” and happily chortle as they shell out their
hard-earned money. Then there
is the kind who sees that credit and experiences a shiver of horror,
I'm squarely in the second camp. Frankly, I’m
not sure I ever want to meet the first type.
Well, okay I guess there is an even bigger third
type, one which is completely indifferent and ignorant to the body of work of
co-writers/co-directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. However, those
people never saw those earlier movies, won’t see this one, won’t read this
review and can live out their lives in blissful ignorance of these two
hacks’ crimes against cinema and Carmen Electra. (Though, she keeps
appearing in these movies, so she can’t exactly be considered an innocent
I’ve had no such luck. I have been subjected to those earlier movies and am
sad to report that Meet the Spartans is a new
even judging by the low bar set by the pair. Please, please explain
to me how anyone would give Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
actually make a movie.
harmless execs' names, believe me it is taking restraint not to
insist that they have a scarlet H for “hack” sewn on all their clothing.
Their ineptitude isn’t cute like Ed Wood, where he was really trying but
just didn’t have the skills. Their films stink because
you think I’m being needlessly harsh in repeating these 't
even try to be competent. They take aim at the
simplest, most obvious targets and still go breathtakingly awry. Then, they have so little faith in their audience that they have to
explain every single joke, which is death in comedy. (Though in fairness,
their jokes are abnormally bad and I don't have much faith in their
Friedberg and Seltzer are everything that is
wrong with modern comedy mashed into a greasy, disgusting ball of puss. They
are an endless regurgitation of spit jokes, zit jokes, shit jokes, tit
jokes, balls jokes, puke jokes and most
importantly – unfunny, disgusting jokes.
first and most obvious question with Meet the Spartans is: who
thought the world really needed a scene by scene “parody” (though that is
using the word parody very loosely) of 300?
it really shockingly irreverent to suggest that that film was slightly
homoerotic? Hardly think so, particularly since everyone got the point
pretty clearly watching 300. We don’t need to see a bunch of Spartans skipping
through a canyon singing “I Will Survive” to pick up on the gay undertones.
And yet the gay-bashing is the only real idea they had, so Meet the Spartans keeps
pounding on this all-too-obvious tack trying to get comic blood from a
course all of the jokes in Meet the Spartans have that broad,
sledgehammer subtlety. Not even to suggest that a parody has to be subtle,
but if you are going to be glaringly obvious, at least do something funny
Instead Meet the Spartans will have the narrator describe the evil
enemy thus: “Xerxes looked like that fat guy from Borat.”
they reveal him. Guess who plays Xerxes? The fat guy from Borat. Not
at all funny. Not even particularly topical anymore. Maybe a couple of years
one of the Spartans, played by Kevin Sorbo of TV’s Hercules, yells
as he attacks the enemy army, “I just want to go Hercules on your
ass!” Even less funny. Even less topical – going back well over a decade
the middle of this thuddingly ponderous replay of 300, lame parodies
of frankly-not-particularly-popular films like Spiderman 3, Ghost Rider,
Happy Feet, Rocky Balboa and Stomp the Yard suddenly show up for
no reason at all and disappear just as quickly and inexplicably.
course, in this film, they are not content to try to mock other films; they
take on pop culture at large with no more success. There
are unfunny bits on American Idol, Deal or No Deal, Ugly Betty and
Grand Theft Auto. This movie's overreliance on topical references are going to make it as stale
as a month-old bread by the time the closing credits finish.
They hired a bunch of
actors and actresses supposed to be playing real life celebs, even though
they look and sound nothing like the stars they are
portraying and have nothing funny to say or
do. The characters in the movies have to repeatedly refer to the actors by
the celebs’ names, because otherwise you would have no way of knowing who
they are. These include Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Tom
Cruise, Ugly Betty’s America Ferrara, George W. Bush, Donald Trump,
Ellen DeGeneres, Dane Cook, Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon
Cowell and Sanjaya Malakar. Sanjaya? Really? You couldn’t come up with
anything fresher than Sanjaya??? And mocking Dane
Cook for not being funny
while it may even be accurate
still seems like a big case of the pot calling the kettle black.
also, strangely, does nearly verbatim
Men of Genius” commercials, as well as others for
Dentyne Ice, Subway and Gatorade. Yes, that's right, this film has its own
actually timed it to see how long it would take for me to laugh in Meet
the Spartans and the pleasant surprise is that it was only eight minutes
and twelve seconds in. Well it was more of a chuckle than an outright laugh,
but still… kudos for a semi-clever punchline. For the record and without
giving up the joke totally, it
has a Spartan saying “He was an alcoholic.”
second time I laughed was… umm… well, I’m still waiting, actually.
least Meet the Spartans was obscenely short for a feature film – the
actual film times out at about 70 minutes. Of course, cheesy to the last,
the filmmakers knew no studio would accept a 70 minute film, so they pad it
out with an astonishingly long sixteen minutes of closing credits and unfunny outtakes. Think
about that. About 20% of the movie’s
is made up of the end credits!
to say, the endless credits are just as entertaining than the movie itself.
parody is a dying art, then someone needs to put out a
warrant for Jason Friedberg and Aaron
Seltzer to find the smoking gun.
cannot stress strongly enough how much you don’t want to see Meet the
Spartans. Beyond the
80-some minutes of mind-numbing boredom, the more people who go to see these
movies (and calling them movies is being extremely charitable), the
more chances Friedberg and Seltzer will be given yet another chance to work
in Hollywood. The world does not deserve that kind of evil fate.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: May 17, 2008.