Rick Riker is a dweeb, in fact he is probably worse than any other dweeb in film history. Disliked by his peers, ignored by the girl he loves, he really hasn’t got anything going for him at all. Living with his Aunt (Marion Ross – ‘Mrs C’ from Happy Days) and Uncle (Leslie Nielsen) after his parents’ death, Rick is accidentally bitten by a genetically altered dragonfly at a science exhibition.
Now you know what comes next….boy gets super powers, fights bad guys, falls in love with the girl of his dreams and has a big fight with the super villain. There you go, that is the entire plot of this film from the makers of Scary Movie 3 and 4 (thank god it’s not from the makers of the tragic Date Movie and Meet the Spartans). Now producer David Zucker is an old hand at spoof films, being one of the creators of Airplane, and you could argue that the man is a comedy genius. With him as the guiding light Superhero Movie is the creation of one Craig Mazin, one of the writers of Scary Movie 3 and 4’and also the 2000 film The Specials.
The history of spoof films is certainly one peppered with total disasters. For every Airplane and Naked Gun you get the aforementioned Meet the Spartans and the disgrace that is Disaster Movie. Being the producer David Zucker obviously has had a hand in crafting the film, as a lot of the sight gags are straight from the ‘Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker’ school of comedy. No superhero movie is safe from the mickey-taking as we get Spiderman, X Men, Fantastic Four and even the original Superman ribbed mercilessly. As in any kind of spoof movie, not every gag hits a home run and Superhero Movie has more than its share of misfires.
Mazin has assembled a good cast of actors known not only for comedy but also for other genre work. Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek: TNG) plays a wacky scientist whilst we also get veteran actor Robert Joy last seen in the remake of The Hills Have Eyes and AVP: Requiem playing Professor Stephen Hawking of all people. TV actor Drake Bell plays a good hero and his alter ego, whilst Sara Paxton plays the love interest completely straight. One of Paxton’s next roles apparently is in the remake of The Last House on the Left, that’s one hell of the difference than this film. Old hand Leslie Nielsen once again is at his straight faced best. You know he can act in these films in his sleep, but you cannot do anything but love the guy. It’s Frank Drebin, for goodness sake!
The film has a suitably ‘super’ orchestral score which pipes up at all the right moments. It’s certainly no classic by any means but is a fun no-brainer. Don’t expect a classic by any means but it is a lot better by a country mile then other recent ‘Movie’ films. There are funnier films out there at the moment but it is fun as always to spot what films they are spoofing. After watching the film, I thought I would revisit some other Zucker films. You thought I would go straight to Airplane but no I pulled Kentucky Fried Movie from the shelf. If you have never seen that film, seek it out. It is horribly dated but extremely funny. You can never look at Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee in the same way again.
As with quite a few of comedies, we have a jam packed disc full of extras. There is a commentary with the film makers, deleted scenes, short featurettes, trailers and the alternative ending. The alternative ending is interesting and funny, but I am glad they used the one in the film.
Film:Extras: Disc provided by www.cd-wow.co.uk
Starring Drake Bell, Leslie Nielsen, Sara Paxton, Christopher McDonald Written and Directed by Craig Mazin Distributor: Dimension Films / Genius
Our review of the region 2 edition is here.