Friday, January 28, 2011

Stan Helsing

That About Sums It Up

There are some comedies that just try too hard, and Stan Helsing falls into this category. Written and directed by Bo Zenga who has more producing credits and making his directorial debut, Stan Helsing stars a cast of relative unknowns hobbled together to forcefully create laugh-a-minute sequences that don't always hit their marks, but instead fall quite short in not being silly for silliness sake.

One thing's for sure though, is that Zenga dug deep to throw plenty of movie references from the horror genre into his comedy, especially when the villains turn out to be cheap knockoffs of their real cult counterparts, with Fweddy (Freddy from A Nightmare from Elm Street), Mason (Jason from Friday the 13th), Needlehead (Pinhead from Hellraiser), Pleatherface (Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Lucky (Chucky from Child's Play) and Michael Crier (Michael Myers from Halloween), and not including minor ones such as the Hitcher, and a giant cockroach. But ultimately there's nothing here to make this film anywhere near being horrific, except that the end product is quite horrific in itself.

On the other corner of the ring of good, we follow the adventures of a foursome consisting of the slacker Schlockbuster video clerk Stan Helsing (Steve Howey) whom everyone mistakes from Van Helsing the monster exterminator, who has been tasked to drop off some videos en route to his Halloween party with hottie ex-girlfriend Nadine (Diora Baird), his best friend Teddy (Kenan Thompson) and an exotic dancer cum massage therapist (interpret this as you will!) Mia (Desi Lydic), on a road trip filled with last minute detours leading from point to point and incident filled. The entire journey unravels with inexplicable coincidences relying on cliche after cliche to bring on some cheap laughs, which when proven inadequate there's always the odd toilet joke to stink bomb everything.

Dialogue is full of sexual double meanings, with Mia being the group idiot to fall for, or become the butt of the jokes. Nothing in the narrative ever makes much good sense other than to react or create a hilarious situation for our foursome to get into, and filmmakers perhaps need to stop and take stock of the comedy genre now that spoofing pop culture, or pop icons, are no longer a quick and easy way to surprise and satisfy an audience, and not when the impersonations was far from their mark.

Don't get me wrong that I've lost my funny bone, but this relatively cheap production didn't have much to laugh at. What's more painful is that it starred the late Leslie Nielsen in drag and makeup as a bar waitress, and seemed more like a desperate role meant for paying the bills. Filled with jokes with some being naughty while others nonsensical and silly, probably the scenes set within the video store bookending the film with patrons providing sight gags and trash talking became the main highlights.

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