If you’re wondering what the dictionary definition of “slumming it” is, then you might want to check out the painfully unfunny, ringer-filled “parody” flick Epic Movie (2007). This tedious travesty was on TV a few nights ago, and I forced myself to watch it because of the incredible cast… but I had to keep taking breaks every half an hour or so, just to replenish my will to live. Seriously, how can a film featuring David Carradine, Jennifer Coolidge, Crispin Glover, Jayma Mays, Kevin McDonald, Kal Penn and Fred Willard be so utterly, irredeemably awful? To quote Nathan Rabin’s review for the AV Club, this flick “strays so far from the solid fundamentals of filmmaking that it calls the very foundation of humor into question. Is it enough to simply place a familiar pop-culture phenomenon into an unfamiliar context? Can contemporary comedy be reduced to the simple equation “pop-culture reference + slapstick violence or scatology = hilarity”? Epic Movie gives audiences ample time to contemplate such weighty matters, minus such distractions as funny gags or a consistent satirical slant on its material.” I doubt the filmmakers are wasting too much time or energy contemplating those questions themselves, because they’re too busy counting all the money they’ve made from their lazy, soulless, cookie-cutter dross. GAH!!! Obviously humour is subjective, but it wasn’t necessarily the “jokes” that made the viewing experience such a drag… it’s the fact that (as far as I could tell) they’d only written about an hour’s worth of material, and then padded it out to feature length with a lot of pointless pauses. There was no pace to it… no attack… no energy! It’s like unintentional anti-humour.
I didn’t laugh once while I was watching this turd, but I will admit to chuckling several times… mostly at Mays and her hilariously ditzy reactions. Lordy, that gal’s adorable! Sadly she doesn’t get as much screentime in the second half of the story, and the chuckles pretty much stop dead as soon as the other characters join her in “Gnarnia”. Oh, except for one scene where Coolidge pretends to be unable to read the word “escaped”… something about hearing her trying to sound the syllables out amused me. Other than that, it’s a wearying wasteland. All I can really say in the flick’s favour is that I loved seeing Coolidge dressed up as the “White Witch” surrogate. I already had a bit of a crush on ‘Jadis’ from The Chronicles of Narnia, but Coolidge fills out the costume a little more curvaceously than Tilda Swinton did (no offence)… it’s just a shame that her actual character wasn’t nearly so full-bodied. Glover’s performance was pretty enjoyable too… although playing a Willy Wonka-esque freakjob isn’t exactly a huge stretch for him (he’s also appeared opposite Johnny Depp enough times to be able to mimic him pretty well, assuming the part had actually required that level of veracity… which it did not). As for how he came to be involved in this travesty in the first place, Rabin astutely notes: “Glover at least has an excuse for prostituting his idiosyncratic gifts for a fat studio paycheck; those self-distributed experimental films about conjoined midget twins with Down Syndrome aren’t going to fund themselves.” True.