** (out of 5)
May 22, 2009
Shoshana Bush as MEGAN
Damon Wayans Jr. as THOMAS
Essence Atkins as CHARITY
Affion Crockett as A-CON
David Alan Grier as SUGAR BEAR
Directed by: Damien Wayans
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Like many critics, moviegoers and Tibetan monks, I am getting sooooooo tired of spoof movies. I used to be a huge fan of them. I loved the old Mel Brooks classics like “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein.” I thoroughly enjoyed the old ZAZ flicks like “Airplane!” and “Top Secret!” Even the string of “Scary Movie” titles were a lot of fun.
But over the past few years, there have been so many of these movies that it has run the genre into the ground. Much of this is due to Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, who were responsible for such cinematic terrorism as “Epic Movie,” “Meet the Spartans” and “Disaster Movie.” They drove the genre into the ground, using overly random pop culture references that they often needlessly explained to the audience.
The Wayans Brothers have had a history of decent spoof movies, including the first two “Scary Movies,” the blaxploitation send-up “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” and “Don’t Be a Menace to Society While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood.” Of course, these were all directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans, who also was the brains behind “In Living Color.” (He was also the no-brains behind “White Chicks” and “Little Man,” so he’s not totally innocent in the comedy world.)
Now the original Wayans brothers have passed the torch to a new generation of spoofmakers. Damon Wayans Jr. stars in “Dance Flick,” a send-up of urban dance competition films, directed by relative newcomer Damian Wayans. Keenan Ivory and Marlon make cameos in the film and are involved behind the scenes a bit, but this is a new breed of Wayans on top of “Dance Flick.”
And it shows. There’s something horribly amateurish about this film, which seems to be influenced a bit too much by Friedberg and Seltzer’s leftovers. There are some very funny moments and laugh-out-loud gags. But the deliver is terribly inconsistent.
The script comes off as half-baked, even for a spoof movie. Scenes don’t fit together very well at all, which is typical of something like “Disaster Movie.” This is a far cry from the actual stories that were told in the “Airplane!” movies, and even later ZAZ projects like “Hot Shots” and “The Naked Gun.”
At least the Wayans don’t explain their jokes to a dumbed-down audience. I guess they figure that if you don’t know the driving records of Lindsay Lohan and Halle Berry, you don’t need to have the joke explained to you. (If only they had taken this attitude with their poorly written swipes at other celebs like Jessica Simpson.)
Ultimately, the best thing that can be said about “Dance Flick” is that it’s better than the Friedberg and Seltzer canon of films. But it doesn’t even come to the level of last year’s mediocre “Superhero Movie.”
For the die-hard fans of the spoof genre, this will be more of the same. But for the rest of us… well, it’s more of the same, just in a worse way.