"What fresh hell is this?"
-Dorothy Parker, reportedly as she cast her first glance upon a poster for Disaster Movie
Let's get this out of the way: Disaster Movie is indeed a disaster first, and a movie barely, pure pop culture pablum for da masses (say it aloud, there you go) as can only be expected from the likes of Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg. It's another opus that, despite opening titles done in the style of Armageddon's and a feeble thru-line borrowed from Cloverfield (mixed with some of The Day After Tomorrow), is as much a send-up of disaster-related films as Epic Movie was a spoof of actual epic movies.
It takes two minutes for the first crotch shot, four minutes for the first belch gag, thirty for someone to get breast milk on their face, forty-five for someone to get feces on their face, and about sixty for a record scratch to tell us that something peculiar just happened. In between, the characters relentlessly name-check movies and celebrities and websites and any other manner of the vaguely familiar, the bulk of which I've taken to listing below (because if you're still going to see this willingly, I still doubt that you care much for reading at all).
(As for the rest of you: You're welcome.)
Okay, for the three of you in the back who always want to know what the plot is, even in this case: Will (Matt Lanter) has a vision that the town he lives in will soon be destroyed on August 29, 2008 (pause for effect), and sure enough, the destruction of his 'trendy loft district' sends him after estranged girlfriend Amy (Vanessa Minnillo) as she bolts for the natural history museum in an effort to return the Crystal Skull to its proper place. Along the way, he's paired up with black best friend Calvin (Gary 'G Thang' Johnson), his girlfriend (Kim Kardashian - seriously, who is she and why should I care?), pregnant teen/snark machine Juney (Crista Flanagan), and a drug-addled princess (Nicole Parker) as they run from conveniently spacious location to conveniently spacious location. No, really, it's Studio Apartment, Camera Shakes and People Wobble, Nearby Warehouse, Camera Wobbles and People Shake, Local Museum. And that about covers it...
Oh, right, the movies. The year's worth of films that are less than fondly recalled over the course of eighty eye-scraping minutes: 10,000 B.C., Alvin and the Chipmunks, Beowulf, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, The Dark Knight, Enchanted, Get Smart, Hancock, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, The Incredible Hulk, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Iron Man, Jumper, Juno, Kung Fu Panda, The Love Guru, Never Back Down, Night at the Museum, No Country for Old Men, Sex and the City, Speed Racer, Step Up, Superbad, Wanted and You Don't Mess with the Zohan.
There, curiosity satisfied -- but wait! There's more! You also get "treated" to "jokes" about the following hip-and/or-now topics: Ambien, Amazon.com, "American Gladiators", Amy Winehouse, Brangelina, cell phone commercials, Dr. Phil (who already made a cameo in Scary Movie 4), eBay, Facebook, Flava Flav (allegedly parodied in Epic Movie last year), generally effeminate behavior, Girls Gone Wild, Hannah Montana, those Head-On commercials, "High School Musical," "I'm [Blank]ing Matt Damon," Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake, the Jonas Brothers, Kanye West (again, Epic Movie), Michael Jackson (a target of both Scary Movie 3 and 4), "My Super Sweet Sixteen," priest pedophilia, Rachel Ray, the Spice Girls, and frightened supermodels in bikinis claiming to have defecated themselves in fear.
Better yet, the wonder duo manage to rip themselves off with gags borrowed from Date Movie (the transparent appearance of a black man as a white woman's stunt double) and Scary Movie 3 (a person of small stature hits a ceiling fan and is subsequently shot out a window) that had actually been mildly amusing the first time around. In a similar ratio, roughly one joke here works for every ninety-three that don't. For example, take the instance when Will, flaunting his Jumper-like knack for teleportation, lands himself upon the sword of Prince Caspian (Ike Barinholtz of "MADtv", in one of seven roles, up from three in January's Meet the Spartans), after which Caspian recognizes the impaled as "that guy who ruined Star Wars." It's an intentional jab at Hayden Christensen's wooden acting, sure, but considering that Lanter recently provided the (whiny) voice for young Anakin in The Clone Wars ... well, they had to stumble into legitimate humor at some point, I suppose.
Barinholtz ends up flanked by "MADtv" co-stars Parker and Flanagan, who themselves manage to take on mulitple roles but differ in coming significantly closer to comedy with their efforts. There's something about the sight of Parker's relentlessly bubbly Amy Adams riff violently car-jacking the likes of Speed Racer that I'm almost certain could've been funny in any other context. Flanagan's overly mannered hipper-than-thou Ellen Page send-up, though, is a little easier to meet halfway, but that's a matter of Juno itself more than anything on display here. Meanwhile, Tony Cox and Carmen Electra make appearances because, well, no one told them not to.
At one point, one of our protagonists has the nerve to utter a line like "Oh, I coulda did without that." Really? Just that? Only one thing in this entire garish display? Then the whole full-length recap ends itself with a recap of the very film that had just unspooled before ourselves, like the rotten cherry on top of some warped MTV/VH1-exclusive Ludovico-like experiment. It almost seems impossible to read into the fact that the end of the world within the film is given the exact same date as when it actually opens, but we all know that the world won't end today...
It'll end the day that Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg actually make a movie, and one that's funny to boot.