Meet The Spartans

Meet The Spartans


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

After two months of trying to find another reviewer to see this film, I took my seat unhappily. "Don't worry," said a fellow critic. "Perhaps it won't be as bad as it sounds." I do try to keep an open mind on these things - I've been wrong in the past, and have happily said so. But this time my only mistake was to have underestimated just how bad it could be. I see now that I was hopelessly naive. It had never previously occurred to me that a film could be made this incompetently - that it could be this stupid, this obnoxious, and this utterly pointless, all without the saving grace of being accidentally laughable.

There is one laugh in this film. It comes when Xerxes threatens to write Sparta out of history, and Leonidas says that he doesn't care because he can't read. This is funny because it's a successful attack on the character as presented in 300, though both films thereby prove themselves pretty clueless about what Sparta was actually like.

Copy picture

And therein lies one of the film's major problems. It would be difficult enough for it to attack 300 anyway, given how genuinely (albeit accidentally) funny that film was, but in its attempt it merely manages to assault one set of inaccurate cliches about Sparta with another, equally inaccurate set, thereby destroying the sense of authority and better judgment which a spoof needs in order to score points. No doubt it thinks it's being very clever with its gay jokes, but these are deeply clueless and quickly become tedious. Some viewers may still enjoy the display of mostly naked male flesh (the only reason I can think of why anyone might want to sit through this to the end), but even then they'd do better to watch the original.

Meet The Spartans seems to have been made entirely without the benefit of an editor. There's a little spoof aside about once every two minutes (I'm not joking), and nobody seems to have noticed that this might be a bad idea. Every imbecilic point that passed through the heads of the scriptwriters whilst - presumably - they were drugged out of their tiny little minds, is up there on the screen.

These asides are often repeated and are dragged out to the point where any humour which might have been found in them has long since fled in disgust. Often they're other people's jokes (South Park and Monty Python knew how to do them properly), badly misunderstood. Many of them involve attacks on celebrities who are painfully easy targets.

There's a considerable amount of misogyny (not just semi-naked women, which would be fair enough, but nasty jabs at women's sexuality), carelessly handled jokes about Persians which border on real racism (much more so than in 300), and jokes about disabled people which amount to it being purportedly amusing that, for instance, blind people can't see - well who'd a thunk it? There's even an attempted jab at the critics. Harry Knowles, we're told, will accuse this film of being just a lame attempt to make money off 300. Oh no, I don't think so. Harry Knowles is a perceptive guy and this film is far worse than that.

Last year, Carmen Electra starred in I Want Candy as an actress (of a certain sort) who inadvertently becomes involved in a film made by clueless teenagers. She ought to have learned from her character. Both she and Kevin Sorbo should be ashamed to be appearing in a film like this, a stain on their respectable C-list credentials. I know torture-porn horror is fashionable at the moment but that's no excuse for torturing viewers.

If you go to see one thousand films this year, make sure Meet The Spartans isn't one of them.

Reviewed on: 18 Mar 2008
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Meet The Spartans packshot
Parody of 300.
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Read more Meet The Spartans reviews:

Stephen Carty *

Director: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer

Writer: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer

Starring: Sean Maguire, Carmen Electra, Ken Davitian, Kevin Sorbo, Diedrich Bader, Nicole Parker

Year: 2008

Runtime: 84 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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