It must have been Martin Luther King, Jr. who first dreamed of a world where hairy beavers, Willy Wonkas, albino monks, pussycat dolls, “Ms. New Booty” and Captain Jack Swallow could one day join hands and inhabit the same unfunny, unnecessary and unimaginably stupid movie — a world in which films are judged not by the quality of their content, but by the bra sizes of their female characters. That day, according to current box-office totals, has arrived.
“Epic Movie” — directed by two of the writers responsible for the incredibly prolific “Scary Movie” franchise — does not try to make one bit of sense. A head that has been decapitated appears seamlessly reattached in following scenes; a half-lion half-man creature claims lineage from Siegfried and one of his pet tigers; a lithe Asian stunt double stands in for an overweight, bald, white man, and we’re expected to agree that this constitutes a plot progression.
‘Tis even a stretch to say that the film loosely follows the adventures of four “orphans” as they each find a golden ticket, enter (via a cluttered armoire) into the land of Gnarnia [sic] and battle against the Evil White Bitch (played by the well-endowed Jennifer Coolidge, often referred to as “Stifler’s Mom”). The first orphan, Lucy, is a baby-talking Anna Farris-wannabe who, when she isn’t solving codes at the Louvre, likes to annoy people of color by repeating everything they say. Kal Penn, still riding strong on a tidal wave of fame created by 2004’s “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,” plays Edward, the orphan who eats what a Jack Black-a-like gives him in a (comparatively) well-done spoof of “Nacho Libre.” Susan (played by Faune A. Chambers) is the luckiest of the orphans because she is on her way to meet her new parents — Brangelina. Too bad her airplane, full of angry snakes and ill-delivered one liners, fails to carry her to her destination and instead plops her down — where else? — on top of Paris Hilton. Peter, the final and most special orphan (played by Adam Campbell of last year’s bad “Date Movie”), attends a high school where the alumni possess special mutant abilities. Peter’s power, revealed after he embarrassingly asks out “Mystique” (played by “Movie” spoof veteran Carmen Electra, who wears a not-quite skin-tight-enough blue body suit), enables him to sprout chicken feathers and cluck like a startled hen.
Once the four principle characters are introduced, the rest of the film bombards the audience with spoof after idiotic spoof. “Superman,” “Harry Potter” and “Click” are among the countless films targeted, few of which could legitimately be categorized as epic. A better title for this film might have been “Recent Movie,” since none of the classic movie epics (i.e. “Ben-Hur” or even “Braveheart”) appear to have been considered.
“Epic Movie,” then, is nothing more than a money-grubbing trick turned by studio whores. The trailer lures low-brow Americans to the box office, but instead of satisfying their need for explosive giggles and some good, dirty fun, “Epic Movie” sends ‘em home tired and wanting. Parodies ought to make people laugh by exposing the ridiculousness of things otherwise taken too seriously, not make them cringe by hearing the same joke about Johnny Depp (that he’s kind of gay) that has been uttered a thousand times before in other media (see: blogs and SNL) that don’t cost at least eight dollars a pop.
If “Epic Movie” were deserving of any award besides a Razzie, it would have to go to the makeup and costume designers: Particularly in the “X-Men” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” spoofs, the impersonators resemble the originals almost beyond the point of discrimination. Too bad there’s no special effect for turning a horrible movie into one that’s at least barely tolerable. Not even Jennifer Coolidge’s vast cleavage, when well-lit and strategically placed, can do that.