‘Superhero Movie’ review: Spider-Man spoof scrapes the bottom of the barrel

NOW STREAMING ON:

After Scary Movie 1-4, Not Another Teen Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie, and countless others (recent entrants Meet the Spartans and The Comebacks have boldly ditched the ‘Movie’ tag, lest we mistake them for some kind of entertainment) Craig Mazin brings us Superhero Movie, a listless spoof that forgets to be funny while providing a virtual scene-for-scene retread of 2002’s Spider-Man.

During the movie I wondered what ZAZ (David Zucker, Jeff Abrahams, Jerry Zucker) thought of what has become of the spoof genre they pioneered with classics like Airplane! and The Naked Gun, and the film that started it all, The Kentucky Fried Movie; that David’s name shows up here as executive producer is rather disheartening.

If you’ve seen Raimi’s first Spider-Man, you’ve seen this: shy high-school student (Drake Bell) is bitten by a radioactive dragonfly, and soon becomes the crime fightin’ Dragonfly, squaring off against Christopher MacDonald’s villain Hourglass.

Being generous, there are a couple decent lines and a maybe a OK gag here; film otherwise flatlines as the plot is far too specific to successfully lampoon.

Sole bright spot: Leslie Nielson, doing this stuff in his sleep, the only member of the cast who can deliver the lines with a straight enough face to make them work when they’re funny; Nielson played a parody of himself Airplane!, a parody of his self-parody in films like 2001: A Space Travesty, and has now become a parody of that – the implications are, I fear, too great to comprehend.

IMDB’s plot keywords sum up the film better than I can: Fart, Profanity, Excrement, Flatulence, Toilet, Vomit Scene, Scatological Humor, Urination Scene, Hit In Crotch, and Depression, which is, perhaps, the lasting impression here.

The best I can say about Superhero Movie is that it’s not the bottom of this miserable barrel (that honor belongs to last year’s Epic Movie), but it’s certainly scraping it. Without credits, the film clocks in at a mere 70 minutes, and feels long at that (about 70 minutes too long, actually). How low standards have sunk.

Superhero Movie

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Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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