Having abandoned all attempts at simple parody, let alone something as sophisticated or challenging as the satire in your average CBS family hour sitcom, the work of Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg continues the descent into cultural ass digestion with the latest in their ‘Movie’ franchise.
“Disaster Movie” has the undistinguished reputation of being the first major release I can recall that hasn’t scored a single positive review amongst the hundreds of professional film critics out there. This brings up the immediate question of who in their right mind gave this pair’s deplorable previous efforts – “Date Movie,” “Epic Movie” and “Meet the Spartans” – even vaguely positive notices? If Judd Apatow is the Jesus of modern comedy, these two are the Anti-Christ – and sadly just as prolific.
Unlike other filmmakers, their learning curve seems to be going backwards. Their previous efforts, though a series of decidedly unfunny sketches, at least revolved around spoofing a specific film target or genre at its core like ‘Spartans’ did with “300” and ‘Epic’ did with the first “Narnia” movie. ‘Disaster’ doesn’t even remotely have any foundation beyond a loose story about a young guy and his friends crossing town to get back to his girlfriend. This might work if the attempts at comedy revolved around the characters and their situation.
It doesn’t. Jumping from one random non-sequitur to the next, the only stipulation here seems to be spoofing a hit film that opened in the last eight months, though there are quite a few exceptions that make little sense (eg. High School Musical, those Head-On ads, Night at the Museum, the f**king Matt Damon song). Due to the timing of the production, it’s blatantly obvious that those involved spoofed films they’d only seen the trailers for, so the gags have to rely on the puerile – namely people getting mammoth poo or breast milk in their face.
Their budget seems to have suffered as well, how else to explain the “Sex and the City” sequence taking place in a rundown paint factory, or the superhero outfits looking cheaper than Halloween costumes you can buy off Ebay. The single most annoying trait of these movies however is the utter contempt for the audience, shown in the way that EVERY SINGLE target they spoof has to announce their name and where they’re from whenever they appear on screen, even when it’s blatantly obvious who they are trying to be and when they already announced it earlier on during the film.
None of the cast display any potential talent like Sean Maguire did in ‘Spartans’, even Carmen Electra’s cameo seems to be more as a favor this time around to the filmmakers than an actual performance. To call it a ‘disaster’ is to imply at least a feeling of sheer loathing for this which is hard to conjure. What’s here is nothing, just a bloated toxic thing that none should be subjected to. Thankfully with gags so specific to this time period, this already feels dated and won’t hang around comedy shelves alongside still very effective spoofs like “Airplane” and “The Naked Gun”.
If there’s one thing to take away from this film, it’s that Friedberg and Seltzer have finally shown us a way to stop their serial cinematic raping. By ditching any vague attempt at humor, what is meant to be parody simply comes off as both plagiarism and in more than a few cases outright defamation. My sincere hope is the lawsuits that should ensue will force even the cheapest of distributors to stop working with these goons and the loose stool water they keep churning out.