Superhero Movie (DVD)

After the not-so-funny Epic Movie of last year, and this year's not-funny-at-all Meet The Spartans, you'd think directors would be steering well clear of spoof movies for a while. Well, apparently not as Craig Mazin (Scary Movie 3 and 4) has another go at busting audience guts with Superhero Movie.

Rick Riker (Bell) is the high school loser. During a school field trip to a research lab owned by wealthy industrialist Lou Landers (McDonald), he gets bitten by a mutated insect. Yep, you've guessed it, the film follows the Peter Parker / Spider-Man tale with one notable exception. Rick is bitten by a dragonfly, which means that he dons a green suit rather than the red and blue one. The other Spider-Man elements are also present. The Mary-Jane character is dumb blonde Jill Johnson (Paxton). There's a caring aunt and uncle (Happy Days' Ross and spoof-film veteran Nielsen). And Landers, who's got a terminal illness, is also Hourglass, the psychopathic criminal alter-ego, who takes the life force from his victims in order to stay alive, and who realises that, by killing thousands simultaneously, he'll become immortal. If only there was someone in black and green lycra to stop him...

Superhero Movie is not as bad as Meet The Spartans (although one could argue that the same “complient” applies to haemorrhoids) although Mazin and crew have the same “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” approach to gag writing, roping in Pamela Anderson and a Tom Cruise look-alike in a bid to maximise laughter levels. To some extent they succeed, as the “Cruise” scenes are one of the highlights of the movie. It's not for everyone, especially those who haven't seen the other movies it pokes fun at — such as the aforementioned Spider-Man, plus Batman, X-Men, and Fantastic Four — and yes, it's predictable and most of the gags are bad and fall horribly flat. However, Superhero Movie is not without its moments and there's some guarantee of some (very) random giggling.

EXTRAS ** Deleted scenes and an alternate ending; interviews with the cast; a featurette called the Art of Spoofing; and the theatrical trailer.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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