Superhero Movie

Superhero Movie


Reviewed by: George Williamson

Rick Riker (Drake Bell) is a loser; pining after the girl next door (Sara Paxton), getting beaten up by jocks and saddled with the world's most incapable guardian. He's an average nerd. All that changes when he's bitten by a genetically altered dragonfly and begins to develop super-powers. He's able to walk up walls, deflect bullets and woo the object of his desires as his new alter-ego - Dragonfly! Obviously there's a blot on this otherwise sunny horizon - The Hourglass (Christopher McDonald), a life-sucking supervillian with a genocidal plan to reach immortality. Can Rick defeat his evil nemesis and win the girl of his dreams? Will his secret identity be compromised? More importantly - will he get laid?

Superhero Movie follows almost exactly in the footsteps of its forebears, the Scary Movie films; this time the parody is aimed at the bloated belly of comic book hero movies, more specifically the Spider-Man films, but with nods to X-Men, The Fantastic Four and Superman. The plot matters about as much as it did in the past films and really only serves as a skeleton on which to pin lightly retouched versions of jokes from the Airplane! and Naked Gun films with an extra dollop of smut smeared on. This would be acceptable if the result was actually funny, but the rigid delivery and charisma free lead make this a chore to watch. There are a couple of laugh out loud moments, but they're thin on the ground and often rooted in offensively poor taste - the part where Nelson Mandela punches out Desmond Tutu, or where the Pope uses his mobile to capture the Dalai Lama having the crap kicked out of him stand as examples of this. And of course there's Leslie Neilsen delivering his stock performance of the doddering, accident prone elderly gent which was tired about ten years ago and isn't improving with age.

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Superhero Movie isn't the worst of this series of lacklustre parodies and it performs as advertised, cramming as many puerile jokes as possible into the shortest time possible. But it's bland, obvious stuff and only really of interest to the under 12s who won't have seen the films that the jokes were lifted from and still think that flatulence is the paragon of wit. It's a cynical bit of filmmaking going for cheap laughs at the expense of an easily attacked genre. It's the cinematic equivalent of the playground bully beating up the nerd - which is ironic as the hero is meant to be a geeky loser fighting a hectoring jock.

The most depressing part is that the superhero genre is crying out for an intelligent and funny parody, although given past attempts at comedy superheroes - like the atrocious Howard the Duck, the slighty better Mystery Men - and this thrilling installment, maybe it's time to stop trying?

Reviewed on: 30 May 2008
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A parody of the superhero genre.
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Stephen McMorland ***

Director: Craig Mazin

Writer: Craig Mazin

Starring: Drake Bell, Sara Paxton, Christopher McDonald, Leslie Nielsen, Kevin Hart, Marion Ross, Ryan Hansen, Keith David, Brent Spiner

Year: 2008

Runtime: 85 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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