Meet the Spartans
Rated PG-13, 84 min. Directed by Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer. Starring Sean Maguire, Carmen Electra, Ken Davitian, Kevin Sorbo, Method Man, Diedrich Bader, Jareb Dauplaise, Travis Van Winkle.
REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Feb. 1, 2008
The makers of Meet the Spartans – also responsible for Scary Movie, Epic Movie, Date Movie, et al. – mean to parody last year's hugely successful swords-and-sandals actioner 300; what they really do is compress that film's plot to 300 for Dummies; insert Deal or No Deal references to guarantee a shelf life of, say, last week; and hit the same tired gay jokes ad nauseam. I'll cop to maybe three cracked smiles in this interminable retread of King Leonidas (Maguire) and his small army of fat boys and no-gooders vs. Xerxes (Borat's Davitian) and his bloodthirsty Persians, but it definitely didn't occur when a penguin shat in Leonidas' open mouth. Here's the thing: When 300 came out, everybody had a good laugh about the film's many glistening and taut male bodies, its spirit of fraternal fellowship that was just a cocked eyebrow away from a come-on. Had a good laugh, even enjoyed a couple of viral videos, like the one that spliced those glistening bods together to the tune of "It's Raining Men." And then we moved on. Apparently co-writer/directors Friedberg and Seltzer did not. It's unclear if they didn't get the joke the first time around, or just didn't care, but to devote an entire feature film to making fun of another film's universally acknowledged gay subtext seems to me good cause for said filmmakers to have a sit-down with their muse, because somebody's been sleeping on the job. Not to mention sticky-fingering: Hey, guys, when you repurpose a disco hit to poke fun at gay men, not only do you look like assholes, you look like assholes who rip their jokes off of YouTube.