Eye For Film >> Movies >> Disaster Movie (2008) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
If you've seen the likes of Scary Movie, Date Movie and Epic Movie, you'll know what to expect. Opening with a parody of 10,000 BC (which is in many ways better than the original, though consequently not as much fun) and basing its plot largely around Cloverfield and The Day After Tomorrow, with an ending borrowed from Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, this latest entry in the series attempts to spoof the disaster movie genre.
It's a curious choice since there haven't really been all that many of them in recent years, so instead it relies heavily on gags about other films and (unfortunately for viewers elsewhere) about US TV adverts. Alongside this are all the usual jokes about bodily functions and a few snide digs at celebrities. It's all about attacking Hollywood and celebrity culture - the problem is that it's so very much a product of it that it comes across like an unpopular kid reacting to bullies by trying, badly, to become one himself.
The subject of disasters is a dangerous one for a film which is, predictably, a disaster in itself, but it's not as much so as previous films by this team, and people who sat miserably through Meet The Spartans might actually find something to laugh at here. Key to the improvement is the lead performance by Matt Lanter (the voice of Anakin Skywalker in The Clone Wars and gamely described as "that guy who ruined Star Wars"), who has the sense to play it absolutely straight. He's no Leslie Nielson (the film wisely stays away from the subject of aeroplanes) but he does help to create a genuine sense of character and story, so that there's a consistent thread to tie the jokes together and hold the viewer's attention. His bland but serviceable central performance gives supporting characters more room for manouver.
Nicole Parker's 'enchanted princess' who is actually a 'crazy chick from the sewers' works well and manages to avoid the misogynist stereotypes which dogged the earlier films - the men here come off no better - but the notion of spoofing Juno as a character works less well. The writers seem too dim to have realised that Juno the film was itself aware of her deficiencies, so they dig at them in ways which only highlight the paucity of their own humour, and it's hard not to sympathise with her cynicism when presented with - well - everybody else. The same problem emerges with spoof of the recent Beowulf film which rather shockingly proves itself more ignorant of its history than Ray Winstone. If you want to take the piss and get away with it, you have to be smarter - otherwise you just end up looking like a dick.
Despite this, there are one or two successful gags along the way. Three little chipmunks put in a performance with an entertaining, albeit rather obvious, twist, and the back-to-basics business of dropping cows on people has a certain charm. This might have been edited down to 20 minutes of entertaining film. Maybe one day the team involved will start employing editors and produce something we can all look forward to.Reviewed on: 28 Aug 2008