- Rated PG-13
- Buy the DVD
All photos © 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
ason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (otherwise known as the duo of talentless hacks whose shitty parody movies continue to get financed by idiot moviegoers) are surely Angels of Death sent from Hell to destroy American cinema. It’s the only plausible explanation – not even Uwe Boll can make a terrible movie that still turns a profit – and it only seems to get worse with each passing year. “Date Movie” may have been bad by most people’s standards, but it was nothing compared to the far worse (and less coherent) “Epic Movie.” “Meet the Spartans,” on the other hand, may be a slightly more superior film than Friedberg and Seltzer’s sophomore effort, but it’s so incredibly lazy that Fox should be fined the film's entire box office gross for releasing it in theaters.
Following the story of Zack Snyder’s “300” almost scene for scene, the film stars Sean Maguire as Leonidas, King of Sparta. When word reaches the Greek city that the Persian demi-god Xerxes (Ken Davitian) plans to invade, Leonidas gathers an army of his 13 strongest warriors (including his trusty captain, played by Kevin Sorbo) to intercept the incoming attack and drive the hordes of Persians away, whether by sword and spear, or a less conventional dance-off competition. Meanwhile, Leonidas’ headstrong wife, Queen Gorgo (Carmen Electra), begs the Greek council to send more troops, but there’s a traitorous politico in the mix, and his name is, well, Traitoro (Diedrich Bader).
If you thought all of those backhanded gay jokes about “300” were funny, you’ll probably find “Meet the Spartans” absolutely hilarious, because at the end of the day, the movie is one big gay joke. Spartan men greet one another by open-mouth kissing, hold hands and skip their way into battle, and even protect each other’s rear ends – figuratively, of course. If you’re not a homophobic teenage boy, however, you’ll likely find the film as unfunny as Friedberg and Seltzer’s previous efforts. It’s unfortunate, since the set-up actually has the potential to be entertaining, but the writer/director duo are so obsessed with cramming in the reality show spoofs and pop culture cameos that they forget to focus on the subtler (and funnier) jokes.
As it turns out, the film’s saving grace is also one of it’s major criticisms. At 86 minutes long, “Meet the Spartans” is already pretty short (like, Disney animated film short), but when you take into account the fact that the credits beginning rolling at the 67-minute mark, you’re left with almost 20 additional minutes to account for. That’s approximately one-fourth of the official runtime, which has been unwisely divided between post-credits footage that would normally appear as deleted scenes on a DVD and the slowest credits scroll in the history of cinema.
The makers of “Meet the Spartans” are surely laughing their way to the bank for that heinous con job – especially when you consider that they probably didn’t spend a single cent making the film. And why would you, when you’ve loaded your movie with commercials for Subway, Gatorade, Krispy Kreme, Budweiser, Dentyne Ice, Red Bull, Grey Goose Vodka, Chanel, The Coffee Bean, Black & Decker and Hooters? It’s just too bad that I won’t see a cut of that blood money, because then maybe I would never have to review another one of these movies again.
Pit of Death Edition DVD Review:
Considering just how lazy the movie itself is, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the unrated, single-disc release of “Meet the Spartans” is a complete waste of time. The included cast and crew commentary seems to confirm that those involved enjoyed making the film more than the people who watched it, while extras like “Know Your Spartans Pop Culture” and “Meet the Spartans: The Music” continues the Friedberg/Seltzer trend of recycling material that wasn’t funny to begin with. Rounding out the set is a brief behind-the-scenes featurette (“Prepare for Thrusting”), a set tour with supporting cast member Ike Barinholtz, and a gag reel.