Disaster Movie

Movie Information

The Story: Another in a series of movies filled with random pop-culture references from the same guys who brought you Meet the Spartans. The Lowdown: A home-lobotomy kit would be more fun and possibly less detrimental.
Score:

Genre: Crime Against Humanity
Director: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer (Epic Movie)
Starring: Matt Lanter, Vanessa Minnillo, Gary "G Thang" Johnson, Nicole Parker, Crista Flanagan
Rated: PG-13

Crass, stupid, unfunny, cheap, infantile, mind-numbing, boring, witless, harebrained, asinine, senseless and fatuous—and those are some of the more agreeable aspects of Disaster Movie—only begins to describe this latest offering in a seemingly unstoppable series of Movie movies from Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Messrs. Friedberg and Seltzer are to the 21st century what the Black Death was to the 14th. My personal suspicion is that they are secretly being paid by the Wayans Brothers—a desperate bid to make the Wayans Brothers’ movies look better by comparison.

This, by the way, is the movie that Lionsgate shoved into 2,642 theaters, while dumping Midnight Meat Train into only 102 second-run houses. I’d love to hear new Lionsgate head honcho Joe Drake explain this savvy move to the shareholders. Actually, I’d love to see all those involved arrested on charges of crimes against humanity. Every time one of these Friedberg-Seltzer movies is released the sum total of human knowledge is reduced. The duo really ought to go into politics and leave cinema alone.

What can be said of the film (and I use the term loosely) itself? Well, it is possibly somewhat shy of the sheer loathsomeness of Date Movie, and I suppose that’s in its favor. It may also be said to scale new heights in “creative” chutzpah, since it contains “gags” based not on actual movies, but on trailers for movies. This became evident even before Disaster Movie came out, when it included a scene in its own trailer that referenced a scene from the unreleased You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. If nothing else, this reduces the amount of time viewers need to see movies being “parodied” to two-and-a-half minutes of trailer. There may be a way of further lowering the lowest-common denominator, but I can’t imagine what it would be.

As with previous entries in the series, Disaster Movie is merely a collection of pop-culture references—not gags, mind you, just references. In the land of Friedberg and Seltzer merely recognizing D-list celebrities, other movies and TV shows is supposed to be sidesplittingly funny. Pat yourself on the back for your pop-culture IQ and move on. Here we have references to Juno (2007), Enchanted (2007), High School Musical (2006) etc., with requisite appearances by Iron Man, Batman, Hellboy, the Hulk, Beowulf, Alvin and the Chipmunks and, of course, tabloid-trash divas like Amy Winehouse and Jessica Simpson for good measure. The “plot” more or less follows that of Cloverfield (2008), until it somewhat inexplicably becomes Night at the Museum (2006) combined with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). Then again, the whole thing is pretty inexplicable by its very existence.

The only bright side is that almost no one seems to be watching the movie—at least judging by the 7:40 p.m. showing I attended on Friday night. There were maybe a dozen people in attendance. A covey of young ladies spent the entire film text messaging on their cell phones and talking amongst themselves. A couple near them finally wandered off to seats on the other side of the theater and proceeded to occupy themselves with seemingly more intimate matters. Someone else left part way through. A more stalwart bunch sat quietly in the front rows. They may have been conscious. And there I was in the very last row—as far from the screen as possible to avoid contagion—grim in the realization that I was perhaps the only person actually watching Disaster Movie. Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, language, drug references and comic violence.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress since December 2000. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

16 thoughts on “Disaster Movie

  1. kenneth

    Ken the low down was hilarious and really speaks for what I hope most movie goers will experience if they see this flick. What I don’t understand is how these movies continue to be made. I mean do people really have an interest in this franchise?

    Two years ago or so I was visiting a friend in Charlotte and we decided to go see date movie. After shelling out ten bucks, we walked into a packed theater with preteens in an uproar at the crap on the screen. After about fifteen minutes we had enough and left hastily to hopefully never relive that moment again.

    Lets just hope there isn’t another movie on the way.

  2. Justin Souther

    What I don’t understand is how these movies continue to be made. I mean do people really have an interest in this franchise?

    While I’m sure the audience is dwindling each time one of these movies comes out (though it never fails for me to hear at least a couple people chuckling at the trailers for these things), they can’t cost much to make.

    As long as they keep their business model of zero production cost and zero name recognition, another one of these things will likely slink into theaters six months from now.

  3. Alan Smithee

    I’m hoping you bought a ticket to something else and snuck in so you wouldn’t pay those inept scrota a penny.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Well, one of the perks of reviewing is that you almost never actually pay to see a movie — at least that’s true as long as I’m in this area. When I’ve had to review things when I’ve been in Florida at my mother’s the words, “I’m Ken Hanke from the Mountain Xpress” don’t have much impact.

    One of the downsides is that you pay the price of seeing crap like this and not just the movies you’d have paid for.

    As for the market for this swill, it doesn’t take much. The movies are, as Justin noted, appallingly cheap. They also don’t have to be any good. Their function, I believe, is that they’re PG-13 rated junk that kids can go to without parental concern and without anyone wondering what they’re up to for a couple hours. I suppose they serve something of the function that Beach Party movies did when I was a kid, though comparatively speaking How to Stuff a Wild Bikini is Citizen Kane next to Disaster Movie.

    And let’s not forget the phrase “tax write-off.”

  5. Bert

    Nice hatchet job on this worthless film, but my friend and I agree that the review of the Larry the Cable guy film was funnier. These crappy movies aren’t even real parodies. Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein were real parodies. These scripts are so bad its like they put a bunch of monkeys to work on a typewriter for several days.

  6. Ken Hanke

    Nice hatchet job on this worthless film, but my friend and I agree that the review of the Larry the Cable guy film was funnier.

    The question is which Larry the Cable Guy film? I’m quite certain I’ve lost brain cells to at least three of them.

    These crappy movies aren’t even real parodies.

    No, they’re not because they don’t parody (not exactly the highest form of humor to start with) anything, they simply reference it. Even when the film does something “irreverent” — like the demonic Alvin and the Chipmunks — it’s not really parody because it has no basis in the characters.

    Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein were real parodies.

    And a key difference is that they were made by people who actually knew and liked westerns and the old Universal Frankenstein series. This was made by people who haven’t, in some cases, even seen the movies they’re ostensibly parodying.

    These scripts are so bad its like they put a bunch of monkeys to work on a typewriter for several days.

    The Simian Defamation League will be knocking on your door in approximately 5 minutes.

  7. Sean Williams

    I swear on my grandmother’s grave, I will hunt down the first moron who breaks this film’s perfect zero-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    There may be a way of further lowering the lowest-common denominator, but I can’t imagine what it would be.

    It was called June Sux, as I recall.

  8. Ken Hanke

    I swear on my grandmother’s grave, I will hunt down the first moron who breaks this film’s perfect zero-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    Looking back, you can see that Date Movie had five good reviews. One of these was by Owen Gleiberman (of Entertainment Weekly) and another by Kam Williams. For Epic Movie the good reviews dropped to one — Mr. Gleiberman again. Somehow Williams didn’t care for that one, but, did provide the sole good review for Meet the Spartans, which Gleiberman seems not to have weighed in on. Gleiberman did review Disaster Movie — giving it a preposterously highly “C” (not enough to qualify for freshness). Williams has not been heard from on this, but it seems likely that’s who stands the greatest chance of ruining the zero percent ranking.

  9. Sean Williams

    Williams has not been heard from on this, but it seems likely that’s who stands the greatest chance of ruining the zero percent ranking.
    I dare him. I dare him!

    Think Friedberg and Seltzer will quit if Disaster Movie beats out Ballistic for the place of Worst Reviewed Movie on Rotten Tomatoes? Can these guys take a hint from the critical community? Of course, two of their other films have placed in the bottom twenty….

  10. Ken Hanke

    Think Friedberg and Seltzer will quit if Disaster Movie beats out Ballistic for the place of Worst Reviewed Movie on Rotten Tomatoes?

    I think they will quit only when studios stop giving them money.

  11. Ken Hanke

    I love Ebert’s term for these reviewers… “Quote Whores!”

    Did that term actually originate with Ebert? The quote whores themselves certainly predate him.

    What mystifies me in the case of a movie like this one is what the possible percentage could be. It’s not like the audience for Disaster Movie is apt to be enticed by an excerpt from a review in a newspaper ad or on a DVD cover, so the studio certainly doesn’t care. It’s also not like having “Every frame a masterpiece! Should be hung on the walls of a museum!” with your name after it festooning such an ad or case is going to do anything for your credibility. Frightening though it is, I’m drawn to concluding that these folks must have actually liked these movies.

  12. Sean Williams

    I think they will quit only when studios stop giving them money.

    Shortly after Shub-Niggurath devours the Sun?

  13. alonzo

    Its amazing how the public gets sucked up into forking out some cash to see these worthless films! Especially the Wayans Brothers, who gets its kicks by ridiculing middle white Americans and gets away with it. We are now a society of lazy thinking clones to the liberal media, who through time have been chipping away at the familty values of American Society!

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