The Austin Chronicle

Disaster Movie

Rated PG-13, 90 min. Directed by Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer. Starring Matt Lanter, Vanessa Minnillo, Gary "G Thang" Johnson, Crista Flanagan, Nicole Parker, Kimberly Kardashian, Ike Barinholtz, Carmen Electra, Tony Cox.

REVIEWED By Josh Rosenblatt, Fri., Sept. 5, 2008

There’s no nice way to say this, so I’ll just say it: Writer/directors Friedberg and Seltzer are a scourge. They’re a plague on our cinematic landscape, a national shame, a danger to our culture, a typhoon-sized natural disaster disguised as a filmmaking team, a Hollywood monster wreaking havoc on the minds of America’s youth and setting civilization back thousands of years. This is exactly why they’re so successful: The brains behind such intellectual vacuums as Meet the Spartans, Epic Movie, and Date Movie and contributors on all four – four!Scary Movies are just smart enough to take advantage of one of the great immutable truths about the American public: If you never stop assuming the worst about us, we’ll never stop giving you our money. So that’s what they do: They degrade, and we pay – like a bunch of saps getting fleeced at a carnival. I’m not even sure where to begin talking about Disaster Movie, except to say that a year and a half ago I nearly went blind watching Epic Movie, and yet somehow this one is worse. It follows the decade-old Movie formula like a papal decree: Trot out dozens and dozens of insignificant, up-to-the-minute pop-culture references; mock them mercilessly but without wit (apparently the mere act of parroting celebrities and movie scripts is enough to qualify as satire these days); string them together with a gossamer-thin storyline; mix in scatological “humor” and countless acts of sadism; and stir for an hour and a half. Collect check. Repeat. Forget that the celebrities and movies being parodied have been parodies from the beginning and are therefore beyond parody. Forget that mocking Amy Winehouse and High School Musical and Michael Jackson is as redundant as mocking boy bands or weight-loss reality-TV game shows or professional wrestling. Forget that Friedberg and Seltzer and Lionsgate distribution should be sued for plagiarism and artistic larceny and copyright infringement and whatever else we can think of. Forget it all. Because it won’t make a bit of difference. As long as there are audiences willing to pay money to have shit shoveled down their throats, the Movie-movie machine will keep rolling out new models. Spy Movie, for example, is already slated for a 2009 release, to be followed, I’m guessing, by Psychological Thriller Movie, Fatal-Disease Domestic Drama Movie, Silent German Expressionism Movie, and, eventually, Spoof Movie, each more cynical and misanthropic than the last, and each a printer of dirty money.

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