Making the Grades
The "brains" (an easily debatable word choice) behind the Scary Movie franchise are continuing to crank out spoofs aimed at teen audiences, and this time cinematic superheroes are the target of the comedy.
During a field trip, high school student Rick Riker (Drake Bell) is bitten by a genetically altered dragonfly and suddenly develops talents that allow him to scale tall buildings and move quickly (although it does nothing to alleviate his klutzy tendencies). Meanwhile, as the superhero develops, so does bad guy Lou Landers (Christopher McDonald). Owner of a mega-research company, Launders' attempts to find a cure for his secret terminal illness inadvertently reveals a way for him to become immortal -- but it requires he take the life force of others. Now, in his evil quest for personal health, he dons the name "The Hourglass" and begins wearing a ridiculous costume.
Just like other movies in this genre, any effort to string together a plot are quickly overshadowed by a continual onslaught of crass jokes, sexual sight gags, and physical humor that often comes across as more cruel (like an elderly woman being fed into a wood mulching machine) than slapstick.
Sexual scenarios range from moments of implied bestiality to a ridiculously tasteless (perhaps even sad) scene of an aging Leslie Neilson (who plays Rick's uncle) straddling a female corpse while rubbing her breasts and simulating sexual movements. Bathroom humor is in abundance as well, along with a way too long scene of Rick's aunt (played by Marion Ross who saw much better scripts when she was Mrs. Cunningham in Happy Days) having a flatulence attack while snoozing on the sofa.
Not satisfied with sex and scatology, this film also eagerly ventures into offensive situations involving real life people played by look-a-like actors. The "fun" includes beating the Dali Lama's head on a podium, poking fun of Catholic clergy, and snubbing Nelson Mandela. Perhaps the worst setup is a foul-mouthed wheelchair-bound Stephen Hawking who complains about his lesbian nurse, and endorses suicide and illegal drug use at a high school. Later he is abused with a swarm of bees, hot coffee falling on his lap and eventually tossed from the roof of a building.
All of this content is very similar to other films from this conveyor belt company. Another common trait of their work is the short running time -- after all, it's hard to stretch a plot so thin to the length of a "normal" feature. However, the creative team has come up with a solution to avoid having their audiences leaving feeling ripped off. They pad the credits with yet another ten minutes of clipped scenes and silly nonsense. It's a heroic effort sure to fill your teens' minds with trash and empty their wallets of cash.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Superhero Movie.
Professor Stephen Hawking, who is spoofed in this movie, is the author of the best-seller, A Brief History of Time. You can learn more about this incredible man at: http://www.hawking.org.uk/home/hindex.html
Parents may be interested in knowing that Drake Bell (who plays Rick in this film) has been entertaining kids for years on Nickelodeon TV in the series Drake & Josh.
DVD Notes: Superhero Movie