Spoofs? Don't make us laugh

The latest crop of parody films has marred the genre

Ever since Abbott and Costello first met Frankenstein in 1948, Hollywood has excelled at the spoof movie. But recently Tinseltown seems to have lost the plot. Critics didn't just take their knives to the latest offering, Dance Flick, they carved it up and spat it out, making it a contender for the worst film ever made.

The critic Mark Kermode called the parody of dance films such as Footloose, Fame, Hairspray and Save the Last Dance "a whole universe of unfunny". "It's not funny, not original, not up to the minute, not one single laugh in the whole thing."

Others were less charitable. "This comedy is so bad it will make you want to tear out your eyeballs and use them as ear plugs," said Cosmo Landesman in The Times, while The Independent's Anthony Quinn added: "You don't have to be a moron... but it would certainly help."

Dance Flick is not a standalone turkey, however. Whereas 20 years ago audiences were treated to pastiche gems such as Airplane!, Blazing Saddles and Naked Gun, in the past few years they have had to endure such raspberries as White Chicks, Meet the Spartans, Date Movie and Meet Dave.

There have been a few notable exceptions, such as Tropic Thunder, as well as Britain's Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, but many recent offerings are just too clever for their own good, according to Henry Miller, who writes for Sight and Sound magazine.

"Parody reaches an audience that knows what's being spoofed," he said. "Dance Flick parodies a film that a lot of people had no interest in in the first place. Meet the Spartans was a spoof of one relatively successful film [300]. You could watch Airplane! without ever seeing a disaster movie. There were lots of gags in it that didn't need anything else because they were funny. And that's not true of Dance Flick or Meet the Spartans."

The film critic Barry Norman added that spoofs were no longer made with "care and hard work". "A spoof movie seems easy to do," he said. "But it's not that easy. You need a good script, actors and directors. Blazing Saddles is a very good example of that. The wave of spoofs we've seen recently show a paucity of imagination. They are made just to make a quick buck."

Hollywood spoofs...

Date Movie

Hollywood's biggest love of all is hard cash, and this ugly duckling earned four times its £12m budget, despite what The Washington Post called "sight gags best appreciated with a blindfold".

Disaster Movie

Aptly named. It was the worst film of 2008 according to The Times. It expired under the debris of its scattergun script, garnering six Raspberry Award nominations. But it did manage to pull a small profit from the ruins.

"Deplorably unfunny", said Time Out.

White Chicks

Black dudes dressing up as white chicks creates a target as big as a barn door for sharp satire. The Wayans Brothers still missed, however, in this parody of the buddy cop movie. "Requires a full frontal lobotomy to enjoy" said The New York Times.

Meet the Spartans

This spoof of the film 300 – a retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae – was unprepared for the slings and arrows from outraged critics. "As unfunny as a drowned kitten", said Empire Magazine.

Tropic Thunder

Patchy exception that proves the rule. Whereas White Chicks's racial play missed, Tropic Thunder got the white-man-playing-a-black-man just about right. Skewered Hollywood and made a tidy profit.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent