"It really shows how stunningly lazy the so-called writing is on this movie when they're stealing a joke from the very movie they're supposedly satirising! Shameless! Simply shameless! (...)Look guys, there's a difference between parody and plagiarism! THEY'RE NOT THE SAME THING!"— Matthew "Film Brain" Buck
Epic Movie is a 2007 American comedy, parody film directed and written by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer and produced by Paul Schiff. It was made in a similar style to Date Movie, Friedberg and Seltzer's previous film, but as a spoof of the "Epic" style of films, hence the name. The film mostly references The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Harry Potter films, Tim Burton's version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pirates of the Caribbean, and X-Men. The song "Ms. New Booty" by Bubba Sparxxx gained commercial attention for being featured in Epic Movie.
The film was widely panned by critics and moviegoers, and is considered to be one of the worst films of all time.
"Four orphans (named Lucy, Edward, Susan and Peter) have an incredible adventure in a spoof of blockbuster and fantasy films. They visit a bizarre confectioner's chocolate factory and enter a mythic realm in which they must help a wise but lusty lion rid the land of a witchy woman known as "The White Bitch"."— Official Description
Lucy (Jayma Mays) finds that her adoptive father (David Carradine), a museum curator, has been attacked by Silas (Kevin Hart). Before dying, he gives clues which lead her to a "Golden Ticket" in a vending machine candy bar. During "comedic" situations, Golden Tickets are found by other orphans, which include Edward (Kal Penn), a disillusioned monk trainee; Susan (Faune Chambers), a displaced adopted girl; and Peter (Adam Campbell), a mutant at Mutant Academy who is often teased for his chicken-like wings. All four meet up at Willy's Chocolate Factory. Willy (Crispin Glover) reveals his plot to use them all as a special ingredient in his treats.
In an effort to hide from the maniacal Willy, Lucy finds a wardrobe. On the other side, in the middle of a wintry forest, she finds Mr. Tumnus (Hector Jimenez), who welcomes Lucy to Gnarnia and warns her of danger. The others follow Lucy to Gnarnia, and Edward meets the White Bitch (Jennifer Coolidge). She convinces him to trap the other orphans in order to become the king of Gnarnia in her White Castle.
All four go to Tumnus' house, where they discover that they are all related to one another in a copy of the famous painting The Last Supper, and that the White Bitch killed their parents. They ally themselves with Harry Beaver (Katt Williams), Tumnus' life partner, to defeat the White Bitch.
Edward sneaks off to the White Bitch's castle and refuses to tell her where the others are. She flashes him her breasts, hypnotizing him into giving up the information on the orphans, then imprisons him. The White Bitch sends Silas after the trio; Tumnus apparently sacrifices himself to ensure their safety.
Afterwards, the orphans meet a graying Harry Potter (Kevin McDonald), along with a balding Ron Weasley (George Alvarez) and a pregnant Hermione Granger (Crista Flanagan) at Hogwarts. They all help Lucy, Susan, and Peter train for the war against the White Bitch.
Edward escapes with the assistance of Captain Jack Swallows (Darrell Hammond), only to find out it was a ruse as Jack, the Bitch's old enemy, needs intelligence out of Edward.
Upon finishing their training, Lucy, Susan, and Peter head to the camp of Aslo (Fred Willard). Aslo agrees to help Edward, and he manages to kill Silas, but while breaking Edward out, Aslo is slain by the White Bitch. As the orphans have a pre-battle party with their allies, Susan gets drunk and vomits everywhere. Their army is disgusted enough that nobody shows up to help the orphans the next day. The four siblings engage the White Bitch in battle and are killed. Peter then finds a magic remote and uses its powers to revive his siblings.
Together, they kill the army, defeat the White Bitch, and stop her plan. Peter declares the White Bitch will receive a fair and just trial in the new Gnarnia, but Jack's wheel accidentally crushes her to death. The four are crowned the new rulers of the land. Tumnus then shows up, having survived his battle. Decades later, the four now-elderly rulers find the wardrobe again and go through it. They appear moments after they had left, young again. They meet Borat (Danny Jacobs), who congratulates them on a happy ending, but then, the four are accidentally run over by Jack's wheel. Borat then says his iconic "NOT!" before turning around and clapping his buttocks, ending the film.
The unrated, longer version (released in the United Kingdom as the "Rude & Crude Unseen Version") of the film features some scenes not shown in the theatrical version. In an alternate ending, Willy Wonka, instead of Borat, comes in and says: "I told you it was going to be an epic adventure." Willy Wonka then goes in the wardrobe and puts out a "do not disturb" sign that refers to the girl in the wardrobe. The Oompa-Loompas come in and start singing the Willy Wonka theme song. The four are then crushed by the wheel. Also, during the scene where Lucy is crushed under the junk that falls out of the wardrobe, the girl who runs out is nude, as opposed to wearing a bikini. In the Snakes on a Plane scene, when the Samuel L. Jackson lookalike yells, he replaces "goddamn" with "motherfuckin'".
Why It Sucks
- It's filled to the brim with atrocious gross-out jokes, racist jokes, gay jokes, sex jokes, and fart jokes. In one scene, Susan, after drinking too much alcohol, starts barfing and doesn't stop for a very long time. (It's even longer in the Unrated cut)
- Speaking of which, the unrated edition (known in the United Kingdom as the "Rude & Crude Unseen Version") itself is possibly worse than the original PG-13 theatrical cut, with more swearing, pointless nudity, and unfunny jokes.
- EXTREMELY unlikable characters. For example, Lucy is a dumb and childish character with a lisp who constantly does stupid stuff (like putting her tongue on a frozen lamppost, as a reference to A Christmas Story).
- Many of the film's "parodies" aren't well researched.
- For example, in one scene, Mystique is portrayed as a member of the X-Men, even though she's one of their enemies (First Class would portray her as a former student of Charles Xavier, however).
- Some of the jokes are even stolen from other comedies. The Borat parody, for example, is literally the same joke from the original film, just with one word changed, while the Wolverine parody flips off Peter with his middle claw, which the real Wolverine already did in the first X-Men movie.
- What makes matters worse is that this movie features a brief parody of the James Bond film Casino Royale, which wasn't even released when Epic Movie was written and filmed!
- Some of the jokes are spelled out to the audience. In the unrated cut, when the White Bitch announces her plan to use a weapon of mass destruction to destroy Gnarnia and create a new continent, her minion Bink tells her that it's pretty much the same plot as Superman Returns.
- Very poor production values, just like Friedberg and Seltzer's other movies. Every set in this movie looks really fake, especially the snow-covered parts of Gnarnia (a parody of Narnia, but with a silent "G"), the prison at the White Bitch's castle and the view of the city in the Superman Returns parody where you can tell it's an obvious green screen.
- Cheaply made and ugly costume design, particularly for Davy Jones and Mr. Thumnus. The stormtroopers, especially, look more like plastic Halloween costumes.
- The storyline is horrendous and the synopsis claims that the film "tackles the biggest mega-blockbusters of all time" which doesn't tells anything about the actual plot. This synopsis is also misleading because the film only parodies movies from 2005 and 2006 (being dated in release since it came out in 2007), if we were talking about the biggest epic blockbusters of all time then they should have parodied movies like Star Wars, Titanic, Jurassic Park, Jaws, Indiana Jones, Terminator, The Godfather and Lord of the Rings; although thank God it was not so.
- The pacing is atrocious and despite the film being only 85 minutes long (the unrated version is 93 minutes long), the film feels much longer than that and a lot of the scenes feel like they drag on.
- None of the cameos in this movie aren't funny, nor do they even have a point whatsoever. And most of them, like James Bond or Borat, are only there so that the audience can say "Oh, I know who this character is/I know who these characters are!".
- Brainless humor.
- For example in one scene where the main protagonists visit Willy's chocolate factory, Edward starts consuming the factory's chocolate river, which Willy informs to him that it's actually a sewage line. So, Edward was consuming excrement this whole time. (The scene is a bit longer in the Unrated edition).
- In another scene, the drunk and pregnant Hermione Granger parody says that the Harry Potter parody likes to show off his sorcerer's stones (as a metaphor for testicles).
- There's also an annoying running gag in which Lucy mimics Susan every time.
- Unrealistic, dumb, and even inappropriate names, such as "Pervertski", "Harry Beaver" (a parody of Mr. Beaver and the name is a pun of "hairy beaver"), "The White Bitch" and "Captain Jack Swallows".
- Continuity errors everywhere (eg. Susan gets her head kicked off by Willy, yet it's detached with no explanation in the next scene, Lucy gets her tongue ripped off by Mr. Tumnus, yet it's back in her mouth with no explanation in the next scene).
- Some really stupid ideas including the cannibalistic Willy (a parody of Willy Wonka) and the vulnerable Super Peter (a parody of Superman).
- Zoophilia/Bestiality in a PG-13 movie. Mr. Tumnus in this movie, who is a faun (half-human, half-goat), is the "life partner"/has a homosexual relationship with Harry Beaver.
- Way too many pop-cultural references. In one scene where Mr. Tumnus is showing his crib, he says "Look at my Plasma!" when referring to his TV (except it's a Sharp).
- The ending is just ABYSMAL. After the heroes get crushed by a wheel, during the credits, the PG-13 version shows scenes of dancing actors for 15 minutes, including a parody of Michael Jackson dressed up as V from V for Vendetta while the unrated version shows outtakes.
- Abysmal songs such as the "Pirates of the Caribbean" rap (known in the film's soundtrack as "Lazy Pirate Day"), which ripoffs the "Chronicles of Narnia" Lazy Sunday song from Saturday Night Live. The film is not even supposed to be a musical!
- Despite being called "Epic Movie", Epic films aren't even in this. As Film Brain pointed out in his review, Epic films are movies like Ben-Hur or Lawrence of Arabia. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Superman Returns and Harry Potter would be more accurately described as blockbusters, Borat, Nacho Libre and Snakes on a Plane are comedies, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a family film and The Da Vinci Code is a mystery thriller.
- Fun fact: In Germany, the film is called Fantastic Movie, which sounds self-praising.
- Lots of blatant product placement. (Such as Doritos, White Castle, Cap'n Crunch, and Gorton's Fish Sticks.)
- Pointless moment where after Lucy opens the wardrobe and she is buried in a bunch of stuff, a girl wearing a pink bikini (nude in the unrated cut) comes out of the wardrobe for no reason whatsoever. In the original PG-13 cut, she says to Lucy "Whatever you do, don't go in there!" while in the unrated cut, she doesn't say anything.
- False advertising: The poster shows Carmen Electra as a sexy version of Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, but she actually plays Mystique from X-Men in the movie. Also, despite being advertised as a major spoof in the movie, the parody of Superman Returns is really short and was even shown in the trailer (where Peter, as Superman, gets shot in the eye) after this happens, Superman does not appear again making it more of a sketch than a parody of the film.
- Poor special effects. For example, in the scene where Peter imagines himself being Superman when a thug shoots him in the eye, the gun slide never goes back as it is supposed to.
- Terrible acting that wastes the entire all-star cast, and especially Tony Cox and Kevin Hart.
- 20th Century Fox was smart enough to not put their name in the opening.
- The Harry Potter portion of the story does somewhat resemble satire.
- Ms. New Booty is somewhat catchy.
- Good acting from Kal Penn and Adam Campbell.
- Some funny moments are here, like when Willy Wonka dances to Fergalicious.
- The idea of a Chronicles of Narnia parody is decent, and it isn't completely awful here. However, the overabundance of references and gross-out humor ruin the execution.
Movies & TV Shows
- The Da Vinci Code (2006)
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
- Nacho Libre (2006)
- Snakes on a Plane (2006)
- X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
- A Christmas Story (1983)
- Scarface (1983)
- Mission: Impossible III (2006)
- American Pie (2000)
- The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
- Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
- Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2005)
- Hustle & Flow (2005)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
- Superman Returns (2006)
- Casino Royale (2006)
- Talladega Knights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
- Enter the Dragon (1973)
- Star Wars
- Borat (2006)
- Click (2006)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
- V for Vendetta (2005)
- Mortal Kombat (1992)
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Paris Hilton
- Puff Daddy
- Kanye West
- Flavor Flav
- Ashton Kutcher
- Mel Gibson
- Michael Jackson †
Epic Movie grossed over $86.9 million worldwide against a budget of $20 million, making it the highest-grossing film to be ever directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, despite being torn to shreds by critics.
The film was universally panned when it came out. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 2% approval rating based on 64 reviews with an average rating of 2.3/10. The site's critical consensus says "A crude comedy with nothing new or insightful to say about the subjects it satirizes." The movie also has a 17/100 on Metacritic based on 17 critics and a 2.4 out of 10 on IMDb.
The film got nominated for three Razzie Awards (Worst Supporting Actress, Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel, and Worst Screenplay). The film however won Worst Movie at the Golden Schmoes Awards.