By Brian Orndorf
What directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have created with monstrosities such as “Epic Movie,” “Meet the Spartans,” and “Disaster Movie” is a subgenre that brings the beauty of parody down to the level of amateurs. Enter Craig Moss, a filmmaker whose only professional credit (according to IMDB) is something called “Saving Ryan’s Privates” from 1998. I doubt Moss’s own mother has even heard of him. Nevertheless, the untested director is raring to step up to the plate with his own oh-so-cleverly titled concoction, “The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It.” Like the work of Friedberg/Seltzer, the results are absolutely atrocious, unfunny, and fail to respect the art of the spoof.
The work of Judd Apatow is the primary influence for this picture, with the film’s “plot” concerning Andy (Bryan Callen) and his quest to lose his virginity, thus taking him through a battery of shenanigans that involve chest waxing, speed dating, and stand-up comedy. Also in the mix is McAnalovin’ (Austin Michael Scott), a punk teen caught up with two corrupt cops, Beat (Chris Spencer) and Yo’ Ass (Randall Park), while his pals attempt to secure alcohol for a party. Hilarity ensues.
I’m kidding. Nothing even remotely associated with hilarity ensues. Boredom ensues. Irritation ensues. Perhaps a few tears of agony ensue. However, hilarity most certainly does not ensue. Hilarity is not welcome ’round these parts.
Apatow’s filmography (as both producer and director) feeds the film’s diseased imagination, allowing Moss to restage famous bits with his own appalling tweaks. McLovin’ is now McAnalovin’, the chest waxing effort actually removes nipples, and Yoda has huge testicles from a lack of sexual release (wait, what?). Perhaps jealous of the filmmaker’s ubiquity, Moss has decided to skewer Apatow, since there’s little in the film executed with any sort of lighthearted whimsy. However, the Apatow pictures are already on the self-aware side, making lampoon a futile effort. But holy mackerel, that doesn’t stop Moss, who keeps rolling out the contemptuous, humorless “merriment,” sold by a cast that should be locked out of the business for life.
Beyond the Apatowian angle, there’s a Grand Theft Auto sequence (we know this because a character states they’re about to get “Grand Theft Auto” on the situation — thanks for pointing that out movie!); Sarah Silverman mimicry (why?); commercial parodies; various sperm, vomit, fart, feces, menstrual blood, and urine jokes (what is it with these films and gross-out humor?); and jabs toward “Twilight,” “To Catch a Predator,” “American Pie” (timely!), “There Will Be Blood,” “Star Wars,” and “Slumdog Millionaire.” There are more targets to list, I’m sure, but after a good two minutes of the film, it all starts to blur into a haze of feverish stupidity — the film steals precious moments of life that can never be returned.
The second half heads to “Hawaii” (a.k.a. West Hollywood) so Moss can work the “Sarah Marshall” material into the film and launch a bizarre tirade against hotel overcharges. Oh well, at least it doesn’t involve someone farting. Whoops. Actually, it does.
Presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1 aspect ratio), the overall look of the film is very soft, perhaps to protect budgetary limitations. The DVD protects the softness without tanking the image quality, with proper skintones and dutiful black levels. Colors look a touch washed out, but the shifts in texture (there’s a comic book glaze worked into the GTA sequence) are communicative. Detail is available, but not for sequences you’ll want to study.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital sound mix is a standard affair that pushes comedy antics to shrill levels of delivery. A good amount of directional activity is detected through some of the more gross-out endeavors, while soundtrack cues are clotted, but forceful, accelerating the “wackiness.” Dialogue is cleanly served, but hits a few tinny high points when matters intensify. It’s hardly overwhelming, but the track is working overtime to make an impression.
“Making Of” (13:58) is a bit on the ballsy side, with cast and crew taking ownership of this nightmare through interviews that break down the artistic process. It’s a promotional piece, so there’s nothing in the way of honesty here, only on-set conversations, platitudes, and some BTS footage. It’s supremely weird to see so much effort put into such a vile motion picture, but that’s Hollywood. Equally as bizarre: proof there was a script used during filming. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and I still don’t believe it.
“The Business of Gags” (:41) brings viewers into the world of dildos, spotlighting the various fake penises used during filming.
“Being Jonah Hill” (4:58) talks to Steven Sims, who portrays Hill’s “Superbad” doppelganger in the film. Making a career out of impersonation (clips from his short film, “Destroying Jonah Hill,” are included), Sims caught Moss’s eye and the rest is a comedic travesty.
“Bryan Callen: Internet Sex Deity” (3:52) singles out the former “MADtv” star and his sculpted body. Internet feedback to the actor’s muscles is presented, along with more lousy stabs at comedy.
“The Teaser: How They Got the Movie Made” (5:18) explores how the production broke through development hell to make their little comedy. Instead of writing a script, the boys slapped together a trailer to help sell their project. Said trailer is included. I can’t believe anyone found this funny.
Good lord…remember, Brian, it’s “down the road,” not “across the street.”