Monday, August 4, 2008

Hidden Gem - Superhero Movie (2008)

Superhero Movie
75 minutes
rated PG-13

It isn't Meet The Spartans. It isn't Date Movie or Epic Movie (no one involved in those late-term abortions is anywhere near this one). In fact, it isn't even Scary Movie 3 or 4 (the previous films Craig Mazin has written). Like The Comebacks from last year (the unrated director's cut, that is), Superhero Movie is an honest-to-goodness spoof with real jokes, an actual plot, and a bare minimum of pop-culture references (and, shock of shocks, a couple of those references are actually funny). And yes, David Zucker (the hardcore right winger of the Zucker Abrahams Zucker comedy trope) is involved as a producer.

The plot basically is the first Spider-Man film, but not in an iron-clad sense. Ironically, while Spider-Man worked best when Willem Dafoe was onscreen, Superhero Movie excels when it's villain, 'The Hourglass' (Christopher McDonald) takes center stage. The teen leads, Drake Bell and Sarah Paxton, are fine, but the supporting cast really shines here (McDonald, Brent Spiner, Leslie Nielsen Jeffrey Tambor). The first act is superior to the rest, but the entire film works surprisingly well as an old-fashioned spoof. There are absolutely no scenes where a laugh is attempted based on 'hey look, he's in the costume from that other movie!' It feels far more like The Naked Gun than Meet The Spartans. It's absolutely worth a rental. It's not perfect, but it's just plain funny.

Grade: B

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