Four (grown) orphans - Edward, Peter, Susan and Lucy - separately come into possession of chocolate bars bearing a special golden ticket within the wrapper. Little do they suspect that the candymaker, Willy (Crispin Glover) means to turn them into sweets. Hiding from him, they shelter in a large old wardrobe - a portal into the magical world of Gnarnia�
Back in the distant sands of time (say, the 1990s), the phrase 'an epic movie' would connote considerable length and breadth. A good example of an epic might be Gladiator, or Braveheart, or The Lord of the Rings.
Nowadays 'epic' is often just another synonym for 'good', but either way Epic Movie has to be a misnomer. There's nothing substantial about this cut-rate piss-take of recent blockbusters like Nacho Libre and Snakes on a Plane (neither of which was epic, in my book), and as for quality, forget about it. This is probably the turkey of the year so far (and competition is already intense).
It may seem petty to quibble about definitions, but the catch-all attitude here doesn't do the flick any favours. At least you know the general ballpark with something like Scary Movie. Here anything goes, and nothing connects.
That goes quadruple for the four orphans, who don't seem to know when they're in the same scene. Blame that on the directors, who chop everything up into lamebrain reaction shots. It says something when you find yourself wondering how on earth Kal Penn has lowered his standards to find himself in this drivel. As for Jayma Mays' dumb blonde, this could be the most clueless non-performance you see on a movie screen this year. (Where's Anna Faris when you need her?)
In their second appearance of the week (they're also in For Your Consideration), the formerly amusing Jennifer Coolidge (as 'the White Bitch') and Fred Willard (as 'Aslo') struggle to raise a smile. Although he doesn't appear in the Nacho Libre spoof, Hector Jimenez does show up as Mr Tumnus, half-man, half-got (he has photos of mum and dad to prove it). Maybe coincidentally - or maybe because his camp performances are begging for parody - Johnny Depp inspires the two funniest turns: Crispin Glover's Willy Wonka and Darrell Hammond as Captain Jack Swallows. Neither is worth the price of admission - in fact you could do yourself a favour and find funnier stuff surfing youtube.
Still, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, who are responsible for this farrago, seem to have hit on a license to print money. Their previous efforts, Date Movie and the Scary Movie franchise - currently going in to its fourth resurrection - have all topped the US box office, and Epic Movie has proved even more popular than expected in the US. By the end of its first week of release it had already made six times more than Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima, and was closing rapidly on Babel. All I can say, any spoof of Epic Movie could hardly fail to be funnier than the real thing.
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