While one may not think it possible for a comedy to spawn pure evil, it happened in 2000 when writers Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg worked on the first "Scary Movie" film. The two apparently believed they were funny enough to start making their own parodies - thus, we've gotten "Date Movie", "Epic Movie" and "Meet the Spartans", a trio of truly horrible movies that have been rated lower than some of director Uwe Boll's films...and nearly 300,000 people have signed a petition telling Boll to stop.
Sensing that they could maybe get a piece of the parody pie, Weinstein Films has pulled in current "Scary Movie" team Robert Weiss, David Zucker and Craig Mazin (with Mazin writing and directing) to pull together "Superhero Movie". The results aren't exactly a gift to cinema, but Mazin and company fare better than Seltzer and Friedberg in every aspect - get together a cast that's actually..funny. Write jokes that are actually...you know, funny. Construct visual gags that are...you get the point.
Early in the story, Rick Riker (Drake Bell) is bitten by a genetically modified dragonfly (and "attacked" by a lot of other genetically modified creatures) and takes on new powers. While he has his eyes on his neighbor (Sara Paxton, appealing), duty calls when a villain named Hourglass (Christopher McDonald) plans to take the life force of many in order to make himself immortal.
The movie throws "Spider-Man" with a touch of "X-Men", and the results are along the lines of the Zucker style, throwing together one sight gag after another, with some of the little throwaway gags (including one that features the little animated paper clip PC assistant) getting a particularly good laugh or two. The whole thing starts to feel a little stretched out even at 82 minutes, but it never really wears out its welcome.
The film gathers a pretty decent cast, as Bell manages to get some laughs and Paxton remains an appealing love interest. Leslie Neilsen, Marion Ross, Tracey Morgan, Kevin Hart and others provide amusing supporting performances. Overall, "Superhero Movie" isn't up to "Scary Movie" and certainly isn't up to the level of Zucker's earlier efforts. However, after "Date Movie", "Epic Movie" and "Meet the Spartans", "Superhero Movie" is a refreshing change for the better.
VIDEO: "Superhero Movie" is presented by Weinstein Home Entertainment in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Presentation quality is just above average, as sharpness and detail were just fine - the picture never appeared crystal clear, but definition was at least satisfactory throughout much of the movie, with only the occasional instance of more noticable softness. No artifacting was spotted, but some minor edge enhancement was seen in a few scenes. Thankfully, the print appeared pristine and the film's bright color palette remained bright and well-saturated.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack does have some nifty uses of the surrounds for various sound effects during some of the film's more intense sequences, but the majority of the film's audio is a more front-heavy, comedy mix. Audio quality is fine, with crisp dialogue, effects and music.
EXTRAS: Robert Weiss, David Zucker and Craig Mazin offer an audio commentary for the movie. The trio seem as if they're having a great time chatting about the film, goofing on each other in-between talking about casting, production and other issues that came up during filming. While not immensely informative, the commentary does offer some good tidbits and remains entertaining. We also get deleted scenes, an alternate ending, "Meet the Cast" featurette, "The Art of Spoofing" featurette and the trailer.
Final Thoughts: After "Date Movie", "Epic Movie" and "Meet the Spartans", "Superhero Movie" may not be a classic, but it is a refreshing change for the better. The DVD offers fine audio/video quality, as well as a decent collection of extras. A recommended rental.
The Film B-