With so many spoofs, something's bound to stick, but Epic Movie is a pale shadow of the Scary Movies or the brilliant work of the brothers Zucker.
In a spoof that combines The Chronicles of Narnia with every other popular epic to come out in the last few years, Epic Movie begins with four orphans coming together. Lucy (Jayma Mays) runs through the Louvre and falls upon the body of her curator father figure, whose Da Vinci Code leads her to a Willy Wonka (Crispin Glover) golden ticket. Edward (Kal Penn) lives in Nacho Libre's monastery and comes upon his golden ticket in a fight with a child wrestler. While on a plane plagued by snakes, Susan (Faune A. Chambers) is thrown from the plane and lands on Paris Hilton (Alla Petrou), who has a golden ticket in her purse. Peter (Adam Campbell) goes to the X-Men Mutant Academy and finds his golden ticket in a locker Magneto (Jim Piddock) opens in his face. The four orphans unite in Wonka's chocolate factory, only to find he's a cannibalistic predator. They escape into the wardrobe and stick pretty closely to the Narnia spoof, though Harry Potter (Kevin MacDonald), Captain Jack (Darrell Hammond) and Borat (Danny Jacobs) sneak in. They did such a great job of combining parodies in act one, it's almost a shame to see them focus on one lame one for the bulk of the film. Once this becomes an extended Narnia skit, the joke's over.
The ensemble cast of Epic Movie is a mix of actors with various levels of spoofing ability. In the leads, Penn (Van Wilder 2) is clearly the most adept. He approaches the ridiculous with a knowing level of sarcasm. He's like, ''It sucks to be in a stupid spoof and I'm going to point it out.'' Mays (TV's Heroes) plays Lucy as if Forrest Gump were playing mentally challenged. There's no payoff to her ditziness. Campbell (Date Movie) plays Peter like a prancing, preening wuss. Nobody ever taught him that spoof characters have to play it straight. And Chambers (White Chicks) plays Susan with no personality whatsoever. She's not even the generically sassy black chick. Spoof veteran Carmen Electra is almost unrecognizable as Mystique, another hot chick in blue, while the Johnny Depp clones are expertly cast, especially Hammond as the effeminate Jack Swallows (Get it?). Glover as the effeminate Willy is also scary. Finally, Fred Willard nearly steals the show as a sex-crazed lion man, while Jennifer Coolidge could pout her lips in a tragedy and still be hilarious.
Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer continue spinning off from the Scary Movie franchise, to which they contributed on the original script, in this follow-up to Date Movie. What their style lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in sheer volume. They throw so many spoofs at you, it hardly matters that most of the jokes are simplistic. Their perceptive digs include Tom Hanks' Da Vinci Code hair, Snakes' Sam Jackson's gratuitous swearing, and Gnarnia's White Bitch, mimicking George W. Bush's political blunders. Most of the jokes, however, involve hitting things for no reason. As much as those talking beavers were annoying in Narnia , kicking them to the wall isn't really comedy. In saying that, however, seeing those ridiculous characters as clunky animatronic puppets, who look like rejects from a Disneyland ride, is pretty funny. The makeup for the celebrity look-alikes is also fantastic, and Epic Movie is filled with random hotties to please their prepubescent audience. Maybe these movies are popular, but it seems they just keep getting more inane with each variation on the theme.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 stars.