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EPIC MOVIE (article first published : 2007-02-18)

So little effort has been poured into this new comedy, Epic Movie and so feeble are its attempts to wring humour out of satire that one wonders why anyone bothered to write it, let alone bring it to the screen.

Not that the basic idea wasn't a good one, because the primary objective was to take the mickey out of recent blockbusters, much like the increasingly dire Scary Movie franchise did with teen-scream flicks.

However, instead of an injection of wit we get a sloppy hodge-podge of silliness and lame, infantile comedy that raised not a single out-loud laugh at a morning show I attended at the weekend - one which attracted only five people, all, except me, being teenagers, I might add.

I couldn't resist an enthusiastic and audible "I'll second that!" when a young man in the row in front of me looked over to his pal, scrunched up his nose and remarked: "That was a major waste of bucks, dude!"

The film-makers are so preoccupied with trying to knot flimsy plot strands from other movies that humour seems secondary - and all wit is hurled out of the window, if it ever made it into the room at all. The result is a forgettable cinema experience but, thankfully, one that is mercifully short as this bitty film runs for less than 90 minutes.

For the record, the tale, featuring mostly unknowns, focuses on four dimwit adult orphans who each stumble across a golden ticket - via plot sequences stolen from The Da Vinci Code, Snakes on a Plane, Nacho Libre and X-Men 3: The Last Stand - to visit the weirdo Willy (Crispin Glover) at his sweet-making factory.

From there, after we learn that the rapping, whacky Willy makes his high-calorie confections with human hearts (yes, you read that correctly), the plot goes haywire.

Suddenly our quartet is getting magic and swordplay lessons from an inexplicably aged Harry Potter and his equally doddery sidekicks, a rundown Ron and a haggard Hermione.

Then the orphans are going through a wardrobe into a snowy land called Gnarnia, where they cross paths with a faun with a cave "crib" packed with bootylicious babes; a chunky white witch draped in fur, who gets to expose her boobs to one of the characters; and Jack Swallows, a tipsy and effeminate pirate who gets to roll along atop a dislodged mill wheel.

Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Superman, Lance Bass of N'Sync, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Tom Hanks, Sanuel L Jackson, David Carradine all get knocked in a sorry mess of a movie that, frankly, should have gone direct to bargain-bin video. Rating 3/10 Billy Suter




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