Wherein unreasonably free time is dedicated to proving Jonah Hill is funnier than you.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Transitive Property of Superhero Movie

Drake Bell is so dreamy it's not fair to compare his movies to those of mere mortals. How do the lesser beings compare to each other, though? Below, a best-of-5 contest proving Epic Movie is less reprehensible than Meet the Spartans.

STOLEN JOKES-Meet the Spartans
Epic parodied the MTV shows 'Punk'd' and 'Cribs,' despite 'Chappelle's Show' definitive efforts in that regard. MtS not only swiped a 'Chappelle's Show' staple (Grand Theft Auto) but also unironically resurrected the "f00 says what" snowclone from the '90s, and rode the homoeroticism of 300 for all it was worth. Both films would have you know that Paris Hilton is a whore.[1]

When MtS unabashedly uses Bud Light's "Real Men of Genuis" template, it's more than a stolen joke because the beer ads were already parodies. Epic outdid its successor by featuring "Borat" in multiple scenes and mimicking the mummified "Lazy Sundays" meme. It also took a shot at Snakes on a Plane, a film which was possibly a self-parody.

FLOW—Epic Movie
Outside of editorial cartooning, there isn't a work more bent on labeling its jokes than MtS, a pathology that peaked when the narrator informed us that Carmen Electra was filled with "a venomous rage, much like Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 3" as she dons the black spidey-suit. Yet by more or less following 300, MtS remains more coherent than Epic, which shifts abruptly from one film aesthetic to another.

AMATEUR ACTORS—Meet the Spartans
Kal Penn — perhaps the greatest actor of our time — headlines an all-star cast in Epic Movie, including SNL's Alterspr√§sident, American Pie's Eponymous MILF, Katt "I'm a Better Rapper than Nick Cannon" Williams, and Fred Willard. Carmen Electra, who played a bit part in Epic as she did in Date, is the female lead in MtS. I repeat: the female lead in Meet the Spartans is Carmen Electra.

Two sequences in Epic uncover the subtext of their urtexts in interesting ways: the hyperbolic absurdity of Nacho Libre and the Soylent Green creepiness of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. MtS's only hint of originality is in its deceptive title: there are no Meet the Parents/Fockers references in the movie.

[1] Both also have a running gag that may or may not be derivative. For Epic, it's the repeated reference to the evil scheme being lifted from 1978's Superman, since that's a criticism often levied at 2006's Superman Returns. MtS has the Spartans skipping everywhere, which is similar to the invisible-horse-riding knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.