All of a sudden I'm in a really crappy mood. Is a comedy supposed to have that effect on a person?
Maybe it's because I just spent a week at the Sundance Film Festival watching movies created by people who really TRY to make good films that I'm reacting this way to Meet the Spartans. Or maybe it's because, after sitting through the rancid garbage that are Date Movie and Epic Movie, I simply don't have any more patience for the worthless cinematic exploits of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. These guys are to comedy what Uwe Boll is to action, sci-fi, and horror. And seeing how Boll's films are almost aggressively (albeit unintentionally) funny, while SeltzerBerg's annual crap-fests are completely and totally bereft of humor ... I'm pretty sure a Seltzer / Boll / Friedberg collaboration might make for the world's ultimate rotten movie.
Bottom line: My college professors taught me a lot about film ... but they simply never prepared me for something like Meet the Spartans. This is a "movie" the same way some drunk idiot screeching "Oooh, behave!," "Dat's a-nice!," or "This ... is ... Sparta!" at the top of his lungs is "the life of the party." And yet, every year Aaron and Jason sit down to
Clocking in around 69 minutes total, Meet the Spartans is not a movie. It's a barely-connected series of moronic comedy sketches that wouldn't even make the cut on MadTV -- and MadTV has some of the lamest comedy ever conceived. Farts, feces and "fags" -- those are Friedberg & Seltzer's specialty, it seems, and instead of taking the (well-earned) criticisms of their first two films and trying to actually, y'know, improve as comedic filmmakers, they take yet another step back into the abyss of shamelessly worthless product-makers -- and do it with such robotic enthusiasm that it almost feels like an "eff you" to people who actually appreciate the art and craft of comedy. And to that I respond: Hey Aaron and Jason, eff you too.
When this horrific glob of boiling crap isn't lingering on the most childishly moronic level of humor imaginable, it sets its targets on a bunch of movies that became popular for being .... good (or at least somehow noteworthy) movies. Hey, spoof-makers, you want some respect? Try being halfway SMART for a change. The original Airplane! might not look like it, but that's a smart freakin' spoof. Schtick that silly might look simple on the screen, but it takes a lot of effort. And after three films, I'm still waiting to see one small bit of effort from Friedberg or Seltzer. That's the really irritating part.
For those who care to pay attention to limp comedy fodder that will hold little to no meaning in about a year's time, I'll inform you that Meet the Spartans aims to steal some pennies by referencing films like 300, Shrek, Borat, Ghost Rider and Transformers. When they run out of ideas (or bourbon) the duo sets their sluggish sights on targets like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan ... and Grand Theft Auto? Really?? -- and when their list of "omg hilarious pop culture references" runs dry, it's time for another gag about poop, farts or the silliness of the gays.
But I'm probably expending a lot of sound and fury for a cinematic dung-heap that signifies nothing. Like Date Movie and Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans is created for very bored human teenagers who simply need a film to see as part of their obnoxious mating rituals -- and any film will do. As such, this mass of horribly unfunny flotsam will probably enjoy a strong opening weekend before wandering off to video where it will instantly be forgotten, dismissed and derided. I look forward to the day when those who actually paid money to see Meet the Spartans will chance upon the dust-coated DVD case, chuckle audibly, and say "Oh, jeez. I actually paid MONEY to see this thing!" Perhaps Friedberg and Seltzer will be working at that video store by that point and take offense at that comment.
But even more than that, I look forward to the day that Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg start caring about their craft and put forth some actual effort for a change. Movies this flimsy are a slap in the face to everyone involved, and I'm sick of getting slapped in the face by these two idiots every twelve months.