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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Epic Movie (Unrated)
Epic Movie (Unrated)
Fox // PG-13 // May 22, 2007
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted May 1, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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In 10 Words or Less
What? Was the name "Crappy Movie" taken?

Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Parodies, Fred Willard
Likes: Jayma Mays, Jennifer Coolidge
Dislikes: The state of parody today
Hates: This movie and everything it stands for

The Movie
After suffering through this mercifully short moviette, I was tempted to take my review of Date Movie, change the appropriate names and just reprint it. After all, it certainly feels like that's what the filmmakers did. You can't tell me a lot of thought went into a movie where simply recreating a scene from a bad movie like Nacho Libre is supposed to pass for comedy.

There's a whole lot of recognition-as-humor at work here, and a severe paucity of actual jokes, as four supposed orphans are pulled from their respective movie lives in Nacho Libre, The Davinci Code, Snakes on a Plane and X-Men, to visit a strange pale man with a chocolate factory (who for some odd reason is played by respected nutbar Crispin Glover.) That only one of these films could be even remotely considered epic doesn't seem to matter, as the only qualifications for inclusion in this parody is a mention on MTV in the past year. Thus, we get Paris Hilton and Borat "jokes" for NO DAMN REASON.

Once we gather our cast together, we plunge into the next set of referential material, centered mainly on the Chronicles of Narnia, but inexplicable including Pirates of the Caribbean, "Saturday Night Live," the Pussycat Dolls and... Click. Hey, I like Click. I credit it with inspiring me to change my life. But whoever thought this mildly successful Adam Sandler film needed to be the subject of a weak "parody" in a film that has nothing at all related to the original, should really be forced to watch the Zucker brothers' early flicks non-stop for a few years.

Maybe if they did, we'd stop getting these big-screen Mad Magazine articles and get truly fun and entertaining parodies like Airplane, High Anxiety or Not Another Teen Movie. The secret (apparently a well-kept one) is to stick to the concept and make something new, but similar, instead of simply photocopying the inspiration and drawing a mustache on it. Bodily functions don't mean laughs either. And even when the film somehow stumbles onto something that works, like joking about the Harry Potter cast getting too old to play their characters, the joke doesn't go anywhere, until the dead horse is thoroughly beaten.

Despite the film being overwhelmingly dated and unfunny, there actually are some things to like about it. The first one is wide-eyed Jayma Mays, best known as Hiro's girlfriend on "Heroes." Absolutely adorable and able to portray her character's naive silliness wonderfully, she single-handedly manages to keep you from throwing your remote through the TV. The second positive is Darrell Hammond's utterly over-the-top imitation of Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Carribbean character. The film could have used him to better effect, wasting his screen time on an unneeded music video parody, but he's undeniably goofy and fun.

There's no way you could argue that this is a good movie, but it can be a conversation piece. You can ask your friends why Jennifer Coolidge, Fred Willard and Tony Cox keep doing these movies? Why would a character simply breaking into a hip-hop dance ever be considered comedy? Isn't the idea of a "Cribs" parody a bit old at this point? Crispin Glover?

Can't say anything about the packaging, as we received an early screener, but the disc features an animated anamorphic-widescreen main menu, with options to watch the film, adjust languages, select scenes and check out special features. Annoyingly, the menu is hosted by one of the film's minor characters, which will make you want to get clicking quickly. Language options include English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish and French Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks, while subtitles are available in English and Spanish, along with closed captioning.

The Quality
The anamorphic widescreen transfer is cut down a bit by Fox's watermarking, so there are noticeable digital artifacts during any action scenes, but outside of that, the film looks pretty solid, with a clean image, vivid color and no dirt or damage.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is as good as you're going to get for a comedy like this, with clear dialogue, very strong music and clean sound effects. There's some dynamic sound in the sides and rear in places, and the music gets pumped throughout the room to enhance the sound.

The Extras
Normally, when I see three screens of extras, I get pretty excited. When I saw that this film had three screens of extras, I wanted to cry. It meant I would be spending more time with a movie I really can't stand. And worse yet, thanks to a commentary by writer/directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, I had to suffer though it all again, and incredibly, this time it was worse. I'm sure these two financially successful filmmakers think they are clever, but this Andy Kaufman-like track, in which they talk about a film that you aren't watching, is a dreadful bore. It would have been a nice joke for a few minutes, but to keep it up for the whole film was a serious mistake. As a result it is only slightly more interesting than "Breaking Wind: An Epic Journey into the Sounds of an Epic Movie," which adds bodily sounds to the film. It was cute the first time it was done, on Wet Hot American Summer, but it's not so cute now.

If three viewings wasn't enough, how about a fourth? "How Gratuitous" adds icons throughout the film, when there are "hotties" to exploit, which can be clicked to see more sexy, sexy footage. The whole idea is executed quite awfully, as it's actually the opposite of gratuitous. One scene, which includes a naked girl, is supplemented by shots of the girl in a bikini. What a treat! Worse yet, there are several scenes with don't have extra footage, where you'd actually want it, like Carmen Electra's dance scene.

Seven featurettes are included, none of which make much sense, though "Epic Porn," which asks the cast what they would name their porno film, is edited to humorous effect. Honestly, I smiled more during these featurettes than during the film itself. "Everyone Loves Beaver: Epic Hook-Ups" spends about four minutes looking at the relationships in the film, while "Making the Video: Lazy Pirate Day" is a parody of the MTV behind-the-scenes series, covering the making of this scene. The 10 minute length is padded by including the scene here as well. "What Makes Aslo so Irresistible?" is just an excuse to talk to Fred Willard more, after spending a good deal of time with him in two Fox Movie Channel clips, "Making a Spoof" and "In Character with Fred Willard." That leaves "Hot or Not: Character Turn On's and Turn Off's" to finish things off, as several of the film's characters talk about their desires. It seems like most of these would have fit better on Date Movie.

Some cut footage is also included here, in the form of some outtakes and an alternate ending. Don't get your hopes up for anything different in the alternate ending, as it's just plain stupid. The outtakes are a little better, but not very, with the exception of Kal Penn's humorous ad libbing.

"Die Libre" is the winning short film from the Epic Movie Viral Video contest. An amateur film that mashes up Nacho Libre and Die Hard, it's a cute little movie, worth at least one look. The last extra is the trailer Reno 911!: Miami.

The Bottom Line
It takes a special kind of film to make the worst "Saturday Night Live" sketches look well-crafted and hysterical by comparison. Epic Movie is that movie. If seeing things you recognize sends you into hysterics, you better strap yourself down before watching this movie, because that's about all you're going to get, with some bathroom fluids and sounds mixed in. The quality of the DVD is pretty high, much higher than the quality of the film itself, and there's a boatload of extras, though many of them are of the pointless variety. You've got to be a masochist to give this a look, but you can't be stopped from hurting yourself. That's obvious from the amount of money this movie took in at the box office.

Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.

Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or follow him on Twitter

*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.

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