Monday, January 31, 2011

A Decade of Dreck #42: Date Movie

Charge Shot!!! is celebrating the end of the decade in the most masochistic way we know how - by watching and writing about the 100 worst movies of the last ten years as defined by film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Click here to see RT's complete list, click here for more information about the Decade of Dreck project, and click here to see all of the movies we've done so far.

I don't want to kill Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer: I want to do far worse. I want to hurt them and to go on hurting them. I want them to look to Heaven and scream at their gods whether the misery in their lives is manifest or the machinations of Alexander W. Boivin. 

I was an innocent, a boy who loved movies. I wasn't even an especially egregious film snob; my favorite movie is Return of the Jedi for crissakes. Sure I've seen Metropolis, Breathless, Rashomon, the pillars of the foo-foo arthouse establishment. But c'mon, I took a girl to see Human Centipede on a date! I'm not some sort of beret-wearing monster! I'm willing to pay money to see a movie about a Japanese guy pooping in a girl's mouth.

Date Movie was like a burning dagger right in my cinephile heart. It taught me that the medium I love can be truly used to hurt people. I don't think I can ever watch another movie ever again. Film is an abomination and it must be destroyed. Friedberg and Seltzer alone will be left to witness the fall of cinema, feasting on the artificial butter flavoring-soaked flesh of the innocent at the Concession Stand On The Edge Of Forever.

God damn you for what you've done, Friedberg and Seltzer. God damn you to Hell.
Picking on the Friedberg/Seltzer brand of movie spoofs is below me. Snarky movie bloggers have been ripping on them for years and years. They're all uninspired, unfunny collections of references to recent films that can be gleaned from watching the trailers for any of the movies parodied therein. 

Example: the film's first scene involves a dream sequence involving the film's protagonist Julie (poor, poor, pitiful Alyson Hannigan) getting married to Napoleon Dynamite. Napoleon Dynamite's contribution to the story involves him saying "Gosh!" approximately seven times in a row (I tweeted about this moment). That's it. Ladies and gentlemen of the Internet, that is not a parody, a spoof, or satire; that is an impression. You paid someone to do a Napoleon Dynamite impression. I'm not sure how much money was spent on that actor, but you could have found any annoying class clown from the years between 2004 and 2007 to do that for free. "'Don't Vote For Pedro'! His shirt says 'Don't Vote For Pedro'! Isn't that funny?"

Aside from the references to the broad definition of "romantic comedies" the film chooses to target, there is a plot. Alyson Hannigan is fat and falls in love with a man who bears a striking resemblance to WikiLeaker/rapist maybe Julian Assange. To win him seeks the help of a black midget (that black midget) named HITCH who makes her a PRETTY WOMAN so she can MEET THE PARENTS who want her to have a BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING.
The jokes in Date Movie fall into a handful of categories:

1) Reference to well-known romantic comedy
2) Reference to well-advertised mid-2000's movie
3) It's funny when white people act like black people!
4) Hey look, it's Lil Jon! OKAY! WHAT? YEYAH!
5) Carmen Electra

Seriously, read this incredibly well-studied plot/joke summary on Wikipedia. It will change your life.

I really can't stress how angry this movie made me. The only times I laughed were during a sequence involving a cat taking a gigantic, noisy dump (because I like cats), a bizarre non-sequiter involving Alyson Hannigan (I still love you, Willow) getting beaned in the head by Ben Stiller-in-Dodgeball lookalike that was itself within a Kill Bill lampooning sequence, and when the movie was finally over but mostly because it was one of those adrenaline things like when you get so excited you start crying for no reason.

I finally know what all those critics have been bashing for the past five years, and I feel terrible about it. Whoever paid money to see this in theaters or otherwise should be chemically castrated and have their right to vote stripped away from them. And Friedberg and Seltzer themselves? Their punishment is that they be allowed to continue living. 



Date Movie is ranked #77 on the Rotten Tomatoes Worst 100 list with 6% freshness. Its RT page can be found here.