Saturday, March 01, 2008

Meet the Spartans

This is Not Sparta!!!

With my workload getting increasingly heavy, and working on super secret projects that hope to see the light of day by end of the year, you should come to expect my reviews here returning to their titular roots, presented as far as possible in capsule style. And I kind of expected it to be so with the first movie I've seen after consciously making that resolution.

Meet the Spartans is a waste of time. It has zero naturally funny moments, and lacked that creative, funny spark that would turn scenes into instant livewires. The gist of it is to poke fun at last year's 300, but what resulted was a whole host of lifeless jokes that do not tickle you at all. Again, it preys rather lazily at the wealth of material offered by pop culture, with references to recent movies galore, and taking the mickey out of celebrities from Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton to Sylvester Stallone and many more which only can be seen midway through the end credits roll (which made you wonder, when the credits were rolling, why you see many more cast who don't make it to the story proper).

Again, Carmen Electra vamps it up as a trashy, slutty character, this time Queen Margo, wife of Leonidas (Sean Maguire), with Kevin Sorbo (television's Hercules) as Captain of the Spartan warriors who defend their lands from the invasion of Xerxes (Ken Davitian, Azamat from Borat) and his digital effect Persian army. While there are no big stunt action sequences, what came across was perfectly cheap, from landscapes right down to costumes. And the jokes don't let down from ribbing homosexuality, especially amongst the Spartans, and too much of something makes one sick.

Moreover, there seemed to be a fixation from writers-directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer on spoofing one too many television series. From American Idol, to Deal or No Deal, every game show had to be featured, made fun of, and then discarded, and what really irked were the lacklustre lookalikes who, unfortunately, don't look alike at all. Far from it. Expect the usual crass jokes, except this time, the jokes seem to be constipated. It's not funny, and not trying to be funny. I guess there's an art to being funny and making comedies, but Jason and Aaron just don't cut it. While Scary Movie had enough to spawn sequels (which number 4 was quite a let down), Meet the Spartans will join the fates of wannabes like Date Movie and Epic Movie - forgettable. And one wonders why anyone in the right mind will fund projects like these, and also, the various companies with blatant product placements to be associated with junk too.

You might say given that I know what's coming, why bother to watch this in the first place. Guess I'll still have to venture to hell to warn others to keep clear of this turkey. This wholeheartedly deserves to go to the trash bin, and automatically a contender for worst picture of the year. It's a comedy that doesn't even try to be an iota of funny.

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