Disaster Movie & r & & r & by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & There are films that confound expectation at every turn, either taking the viewer on a thrill ride of plot twists or a teary roller coaster of unlooked-for emotion. Filmmakers Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg don't make those kinds of movies. Not even once. Their films are so formulaic, I've been able to create a film-review template -- a fun little Mad Lib -- to make my reviewing job easier. Filling in the blanks, I assure you, is infinitely more gratifying than watching the films. --LB
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & here's no rush to see Disaster Movie. None at all. You certainly don't need to see it in theaters. It's better if you don't. The bigger the screen, the more glaring the film's flaws become, allowing you to see just how janky, for example, the choreography of the endless musical numbers are. It also exposes the film's absurdly low budget, making the zipper on the Kung Fu Panda costume appear 20 feet tall. There's no upside to paying $10. The screen size doesn't make it any easier to find the film's plot.
Disaster Movie is a miscarriage of a spoof by serial film abortionists Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg. The duo's careers took off after helping scribe the genre satire Scary Movie in 2000. A ship originally steered by members of the Wayans family -- a group of woefully scattershot satirists themselves -- Seltzer and Friedberg were charged, I imagine, with the literary equivalent of swabbing the poop deck. Or being human footrests for the other writers. When the Scary Movie franchise ran aground, Seltzer and Friedberg, inexplicably, were given free rein -- or as free as possible, given the budgets -- to spoof whatever other crap they could think of.
They've done four of them now. Each is a little less about mocking the formula of genre films (Date Movie) and more about stabbing out at whatever the two have happened to see on TV or TMZ.com or in film trailers that week (see Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans -- or rather, don't see them, but note their existence).
Disaster Movie has lame jokes about a lot of really, really new films, like Wanted and Hancock, which both came out almost exactly one month (you read right) before Disaster Movie itself did. This means Seltzer and Friedberg were either A) writing jokes based on film trailers or B) rewriting the script while in production. Neither practice is conducive to deep satire.
There are exactly two funny bits in the film. The only one that lasts more than 20 seconds is a recurring character based on Juno, which has some genuinely funny nits to pick about Diablo Cody's precious writing style. That's funny for a solid 10 minutes.
So yeah, it's best to steer clear of Disaster Movie altogether. If you do decide -- and I can't imagine why anyone would do this -- to see it in theaters, though, there's no rush to get in your seat on time. Seriously. Wait until the movie has started, then leave home. I live on the lower South Hill. The closest theater is at River Park Square. By car, it would have taken me five minutes, so I walked. I also stopped to grab takeout. I reached the theater roughly 30 minutes late, just in time to see the bit with Amy Winehouse as a sabertoothed tiger, surely the film's funniest single moment. Arriving late meant I didn't get tired of the film until about one hour in. At that point, I only had to wait another 20 minutes or so for it to be over. I felt it was my journalistic duty to sit through those waning moments. (I was also still eating.) My advice? Cut and run the minute you see the 20-foot zipper on that Kung Fu Panda costume. You'll thank me.