Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Meet the Spartans

by Shannon O'Neill

Going on a double date with a couple you’re not particularly fond of is never a good time. I was once dragged on a double date with a couple whom I did not care for, and, to make matters worse, said couple decided Meet the Spartans was the perfect movie choice. Both the double date and the movie were anything but perfect.

The year was 2008 and I was a junior in high school. I still don’t know what possessed me to agree to seeing the movie (perhaps it was because my 17-year old self was more compliant than I am today), but it’s safe to say Meet the Spartans was the worst movie I ever sat through. I can easily follow and understand comedies and action movies, but I could not follow nor could I understand any of this parody.

The Scary Movie-esque parody mocks ancient-time action movies. While this movie came out in 2008, it most obviously mocks blockbusters like 300 from 2007 and Brad Pitt’s Troy from 2004. Basically, this movie consists of Spartan warriors trying to fend off invading Persians. One might think that such a basic plotline would be simple enough to follow, but a lot of weird stuff happens in between. “Weird” is a relative term, and often weird can be funny. In this case, weird is not funny – it is just confusing and literally left me scratching my head.

One of the oddest things about this movie is that, while it’s supposed to be a parody of films that take place in ancient times, there are a lot of references to people who were relevant in the early 2000s. For example, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton impersonators each make a cameo as part of the Persian forces. Why? I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense in the context of the film. The randomness of these cameos could be overlooked if they were actually funny, but they weren’t…at all.

Paris Hilton is played by a man who has one ogre-like arm and a hunchback. No tabloid ever claimed that Hilton was an ogre-like hunchback, so portraying her in this way is a complete mystery. Likewise, in Britney Spears’ appearance her head is shaved, she is holding (dangling) a baby, and she is wailing. We all know Britney had a tough 2007, but this “social commentary” the film attempts to make fails miserably, as no commentary is actually made. It doesn’t make light of or say anything about Ms. Spears’ personal dilemma, it just includes her because she was a relevant figure.

The script of Meet the Spartans was just horrendous, and the acting wasn’t any better. There are no big-name actors in the film except for Carmen Electra, and that isn’t saying much. While she may be a well-known name, it’s also well-known that she has lackluster acting skills. She plays an über-slutty Queen Margo, but delivers her lines with little to no enthusiasm and it looks like she is actually reading her lines from a cue card. Just as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears are in the film for no reason other than relevancy, the scantily-clad Electra is only in the movie for the amount of skin her togas do not cover.

After the first ten minutes in the theatre, I spent what was left of those 86 minutes hoping that it would be over soon and thinking about how much money my date had wasted on the tickets. The warriors with drawn-on six pack abs, the awkward cameos, and the terrible acting did not keep my attention and didn’t evoke a single laugh. It was so bad that my then-boyfriend actually apologized for making me sit through it. Needless to say, our relationship ended shortly after that fateful double date, and I’m sure Meet the Spartans had more than a little to do with the break-up.

If you're looking to waste time, be utterly confused, not laugh, and passively put an end to a relationship, then Meet the Spartans is the perfect film for you.

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