After cycling through a couple long-lead teasers early on, the main theatrical poster for Lionsgate’s forthcoming Disaster Movie, which of course echoes back to the crammed visual-gag posters for Superhero Movie, Scary Movie and all the other spoof flicks of the past half-dozen years, just goes kitchen-sink character collection, under the tagline, “Your favorite movies are going to be destroyed.”
I suppose I get all the superhero inclusions (The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Hellboy), but then there’s visual riffs on… Juno, Enchanted and High School Musical? Plus animated flicks like Alvin and the Chipmunks and Kung Fu Panda? Am I the only one confused, and disheartened? Ever since Not Another Teen Movie, which actually had some smarts, these genre-spoofing titles have, broadly speaking, been on a big-time downward slide, from an already middling perch. And sure, cheats have been part of the last couple Scary Movie flicks, but are filmmakers (and I guess I’m thinking chiefly, though not exclusively, of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, who’re jointly responsible for Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans and now this latest flick) even trying anymore? Hell, are executives even reading scripts anymore, or are these things greenlit solely on a title and coverage written up by a 22-year-old intern fresh off the bus from Ball State?
I assume (hope?) there’s at least some tossed-off plot contrivance that serves as a tip of the cap to the title, but if you’re not trying first and foremost to lampoon genre conventions why call it Disaster Movie, I guess is my point — why not just Popular Movie, or Money-Making Movie? And, more to the point, can flat-tire “satires” of this ilk — which seem to consist of people dressed up like characters from other movies, doing bad impressions and getting hit in the balls or plowed over by speeding vehicles — be long for a world in which any number of YouTube creations can offer the same sort cheap, dumb, double-F laffs, and often do it much better?