No matter how low your expectations for Epic Movie are, reduce them by at least 90 percent. Really, think of the worst movie you’ve ever seen. Now take away any redeeming qualities. Now take away any element that was esthetically neutral. Now add in the most painful moments from the 10 next-worst movies you can think of. That’s what Epic Movie would be if it were a hell of a lot better than it is. I never laughed, not once; the closest I came was a small “Heh” at a Harold and Kumar joke thrown into one of Kal Penn’s scenes.
I’ve seen all four films in the Scary Movie franchise, and late one night, very drunk, I even watched the first 20 minutes of Date Movie on HBO (I then, blessedly, passed out). Compared to Epic Movie, each of those films might as well have been made by Preston Sturges. Co-written and co-directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the subhuman CHUDs partially responsible for scripting the first Scary Movie and entirely responsible for writing, directing, and producing Date Movie, Epic takes all of their tired, pointless, unfunny, demeaning shtick — the dick, pussy, and STD jokes; the fart, shit, piss, and puke zingers; the stereotypical, one-note characters; the meaningless allusions to other films, TV shows, and commercials that demonstrate only that Friedberg and Seltzer have seen them — and somehow finds a way to make it all more tired, pointless, unfunny, and demeaning. The film is thoroughly humiliating for everyone involved, except for the cast members who had no dignity to begin with (I’m looking at you, Fred Willard).
I’ve written before about the utter pointlessness of making this type of film in the YouTube era, and I won’t belabor that point. But even assuming that the entire enterprise weren’t an exhausted anachronism, Friedberg and Seltzer are so unbelievably, pitiably stupid and untalented that they can’t even perceive and exploit a ready target for genuine satire, or at least smart parody. The bloat and self-importance of recent attempts at epics from such bloated, self-important filmmakers as Peter Jackson and Ridley Scott fairly cry out for actual, thoughtful mockery, but these two morons don’t even attempt that. Their thought process goes no further than “Gee, wouldn’t it be funny if epics were full of toilet humor and bestiality?” It’s generally considered bad form for a critic to advocate the kidnap and torture of specific filmmakers, but I’ll tell you this: If you did it, and you confessed to me, no way would I turn you in.
I’ve seen a lot of bad movies. I’ve seen both Garfields, two Uwe Boll movies, two Tyler Perry movies (and one recorded play). I’ve seen I Spit on Your Grave and a thousand other terrible horror movies. I’ve seen the worst that Michael Bay, Renny Harlin, and Tony Scott can throw at us. I’ve seen torture porn, lame comedies with Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey — I’ve seen Dirty Love and defended it. But I can say without hyperbole that Epic Movie may truly be the absolute worst movie I’ve ever seen. It’s so horribly, painfully bad that I wouldn’t wish it on Paul Haggis.
Jeremy C. Fox is a founding critic of Pajiba and a member of the Online Film Critics Society.You may email him at jeremycfox[at]gmail.com.
Epic Movie / Jeremy C. Fox
Film | January 28, 2007 | Comments ()