Friedberg and Setzer. From being two of the six writers of “Scary Movie”, they’ve turned into a fairly dependable money making team, spewing out spoof movies every year or so since 2006. Their names are widely derided, with about the kindest thing said about them being they’re “a pimple on the ass of Hollywood”, managing to be even less popular than Uwe Boll. Their formula seems to have changed a little recently, though, going from “what’s famous this year for us to mock?” humour to something a little more focused, concentrating on a specific film or series. “Best Night Ever” (“The Hangover” / “Bridesmaids”) managed to get some positive-ish reviews, and along with this year’s “Who The F*** Took My Daughter?” we’ve got this.
The first, ahem, roadblock, this movie faces is “how do you mock a franchise that’s completely aware of how over the top it is?” While you could say the first two Paul Walker-centric movies were sort of serious, by the time it came back for 2009’s “Fast And Furious” they knew exactly what they were doing – ever wilder car based stunts, a huge and oddly-cast group of stars, and nothing but fun and excitement. Full disclosure – despite not being a driver, I adore the Fast and Furious movies and am fully aware of how silly they all are.
The answer we’re given to that question is “give half the cast a lobotomy”. Think back to “Scary Movie”, if you will. Remember the extraordinarily dumb jock character? He’d be the smartest male character in this movie (the women are, of course, only there to wear tight tops and look disapprovingly at the men). Rather than think up jokes, too often they just copy a scene from one of the F&F movies, but have it played out by idiots, and it feels so damn lazy.
It’s not too cheap-looking, and there are occasional great jokes – the scene where they’re looking at a blueprint is really well done, for one. But almost all the funny stuff is just beaten into the ground, like they’re saying “not sure that thing we did five minutes ago was a joke? Well, here it is again, so you can laugh this time”. The first repeated joke (stupid handshakes) is done 12 minutes in, and it doesn’t get any better from there. The cast is solid too, no-one embarrassingly bad or anything like that, but they must know the toxic reputation of Friedberg and Setzer so I feel bad that they couldn’t get any other work.
There are two movies which have elements of parodying this genre in them which are much more worthy of your time. By far the best is “Torque”, an early Adam Scott movie; but there’s also the ultra-low-budget “The Fear Of Speed”, which has a slightly more “adult” spin on things.
I think you know what to expect, coming into this. The writer/directors are unlikely to suddenly improve at this stage in their careers, especially now their budgets appear to be going down (not a single face you’ll really recognise from anything else, filmed in a variety of miserable-looking back streets); and while it’s far from good, if someone ever forces you to watch it, it’s certainly better than most forms of torture.
Rating: thumbs down