Silver Chips Online

"Superhero Movie" barely gets off the ground

Spoof contains only brief moments of comedy

By Anshul Sood, Online Sports Editor
April 2, 2008
Ever since the success of the "Scary Movie" franchise, producers have tried to create spoofs of other film genres. While creations such as "Epic Movie," "Date Movie" and "Meet the Spartans" have failed to garner any laughs from the audience, "Superhero Movie" does provide some humor - just not enough.

The film is a spoof of superhero movies, with the plot centering on Spiderman. High school nobody Rick Riker (Drake Bell) lives with his Uncle Albert (Leslie Nielsen) and Aunt Lucille (Marion Ross). The love of his life Jill Johnson (Sara Paxton) barely knows he exists until he is bitten by a genetically altered dragonfly. With his newfound powers, Riker throws on a costume and vows to fight evil as The Dragonfly.

Superhero Movie

(released March 28, 2008)
Chips Rating:
2 stars
User Rating:
3.5 stars Votes: 5
A high school loser turned superhero must fight an evil villain in this parody of superhero movies. Photo courtesy of MGM.
Meanwhile, Billionaire businessman Lou Landers (Christopher McDonald) becomes obsessed with living forever and performs an experiment on himself. But when the experiment goes horribly wrong, Landers is given the power to suck the life out of people and becomes the super villain Hourglass. The Dragonfly must stop Hourglass from sucking the life out of everyone in the city and win Johnson's heart.

Most of the film's humor is found in arbitrary off-color and sometimes stereotypical jokes that are interjected throughout spoofs. Toilet and sex jokes interspersed throughout the film also help to divert the audience's attention away from the thin plot.

Rarer but funnier humor in the film comes from jokes that relate to universal truths of current teenage trends. For example, Riker shows that the only way to break up with a girl is to take her out of your "five" - a reference to the heavy texting culture associated with younger phone users.

While the cast of this film is a little more expansive than that of previous spoof movies, Nielsen is still the main source of humor throughout the film. No newcomer to spoof movies, Nielsen played the president of the United States in the last two Scary Movies. He also starred in "The Naked Gun" series, one of the most successful series of one-liner comedy flicks. He brings classic one-liner gags into "Superhero Movie," inserting humor each scene even when his character is dying.

Bell finally sheds his Nickelodeon persona to take on a more grown-up role in "Superhero Movie." He adds swearing and sexual humor to his arsenal of acting techniques. Yet his acting style is still similar to his style to that on his TV series "Drake and Josh" through his familiar facial expressions and hand gestures.

Good spoof movies have been hard to come by since "Scary Movie 4". "Superhero Movie" does not cure that drought, but it provides hope to the audience that the films in the wacky genre are improving.

"Superhero Movie" is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, comic violence, drug references, and language. Now playing in all area theaters.