Disaster Movie (12A)

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The Independent Culture

Disaster Movie isn't so much a film as an insult to cinema-goers everywhere. I know I should really ignore a product which is nothing more than a splinter scraped from the bottom of the Hollywood barrel, but it's the second film its writer-directors have had out this year. The guilty parties are Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the same dud duo who excreted Date Movie, Epic Movie and March's Meet the Spartans, and for sheer crappiness they've excelled themselves: their latest soul-sapping "spoof" is rightly ranked on imdb.com as the worst film ever.

I put inverted commas around "spoof", because to spoof something properly you have to understand and engage with it, and Friedberg and Seltzer don't make the effort. Sticking to their usual dreary formula, they have a cast of vacant reality-show alumni hamming their way through a threadbare plot about an asteroid strike, and every minute or two they'll bump into someone who's cheaply made-up as a character from a recent blockbuster. Someone else will then exclaim, "Look, it's Indiana Jones", just so we know who it's supposed to be, and the impersonator will parrot a phrase from the blockbuster's trailer, before swearing or being punched in the face. There are no actual jokes. Apparently, the novelty of seeing someone in an Iron Man or Carrie Bradshaw costume is hilarity enough. Friedberg and Seltzer must wet themselves at fancy-dress parties.

Also in keeping with their formula, Disaster Movie barely acknowledges the genre it's supposed to be pastiching, unless Juno, Enchanted, and Alvin and the Chipmunks count as disaster movies. It even "spoofs" some TV shows and adverts that aren't shown on British television, interludes that are almost surreal in their lack of humour. The only bright side is that, by modern standards, it's not too long before the credits bring relief.

Again, I know I should ignore it, but given how much of the "comedy" is predicated on violence being harmless fun, "gay" being a term of abuse, and women being sex objects who call each other whores, Disaster Movie's 12A rating is more controversial than The Dark Knight's. But you can see why the British Board of Film Classification might have been conflicted: it's difficult to imagine a film more childish, and yet more unsuitable for children.