Meet the Spartans
Meet the Spartans is a 2008 American parody film directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Similar to past movies, such as Scary Movie, Date Movie, and Epic Movie, it directs parodies of various films. Although it references many films, TV shows, people and pop cultural events, it focuses mainly on the 2007 film 300. It opened #1 in the US box office, despite being critically panned by critics and audiences. The film stars Sean Maguire, Carmen Electra, Ken Davitian and Kevin Sorbo.
When Xerxes, the evil god-king of Persia, sends his massive army to Sparta, King Leonidas and 13 strapping warriors rise up to defend their homeland. Leonidas, Captain and the rest face down dancing Persians, bad punch-lines, and celebrity look-alikes.
Why It Sucks
- Like most other parody films, it's filled to the brim with atrocious gross-out jokes, racist jokes, sex jokes and fart jokes. For example, there are a ton of body fluid and gay jokes throughout this movie.
- None of the pop-culture references in this movie (such as American Idol, Ghost Rider, Britney Spears or Paris Hilton) are funny, nor do they even have a point.
- Awful looking production values, with a prime example being the plastic-looking Thermopylae set.
- Laughable character and costume designs, especially for the Shrek baby, Xerxestron, and Spider-Man's black suit.
- The film's title doesn't really makes sense since the plot of the movie has nothing to do with meeting the Spartans. This assumes that the concept of the film is to combine 300 and Meet the Parents (an already awful idea) but this is only given in the title because the film is mainly focused on parodying 300 since Meet the Parents is never referenced or spoofed.
- In fact, the titles for Spain and Latin America: Casi 300 (Almost 300) and Una Loca Película de Esparta (A Very Crazy Spartan Movie) respectively, are more creative and fit well to the movie.
- Many scenes are stolen from films that feel out of place in the setting. For example, the testicular torture scene is a blatant rip-off of that scene from Casino Royale.
- Terrible acting, particularly with Carmen Electra and Sean Maguire.
- Mindless gags, especially for the Spider-Man 3 and Transformers parodies.
- Poorly-made CGI and visual effects, especially for Xerxestron (a parody of Megatron from Transformers 2007).
- Awful editing that makes no sense. For example, in one scene during the dance battle, Leonidas breaks his head off; and when he gets back up, it’s back on his neck without any explanation.
- Annoying, out-of-place and abysmal songs, such as the "Spartans vs. Persians" dance number.
- Too many gratuitous product placements, including Subway, Gatorade, Krispy Kreme, Chanel, Nintendo Wii, Chevrolet, YouTube and even Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
- The ending is just atrocious, as instead of the Spartans going to battle with the Persians, they go to Malibu and run over Lindsay Lohan with a car.
- Bad audio editing: When the Spartans first sing "I Will Survive", one of the characters' (Sonio's) mouths can be seen singing alone, before we hear the song or see anyone else is singing.
- Some stupid ideas, such as a grotesque Paris Hilton and a gangster penguin (a parody of Happy Feet).
- The actual movie ends at 64 minutes (67 minutes in the unrated cut), followed by 14 minutes (19 minutes in the unrated cut) of credits and gags.
- Lots of unfunny "cameos" (which are only celebrity lookalikes) that, like the pop-culture references, are pointless.
- In France, the film is called Spartatouille; which sounds even worse. And to make matters worse, there isn't even a parody of Ratatouille in the film; making the change unnecessary and stupid.
- The narrator insults the audience's intelligence by reminding the audience that Spider-Man 3 stars Tobey Maguire.
- Christopher Lennertz's score is bland.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- There are some funny moments here and there.
Movies, Shows and Video Games
- 300 (2006)
- Shrek the Third (2007)
- Casino Royale (2006)
- Happy Feet (2006)
- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
- American Idol (2002)
- Stomp the Yard (2007)
- Spider-Man 3 (2007)
- Ghost Rider (2007)
- Rocky Balboa (2006)
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
- Transformers (2007)
- Brad Pitt
- Angelina Jolie
- Britney Spears
- Kevin Federline
- Sanjaya Malakar
- Ellen DeGeneres
- Paula Abdul
- Paris Hilton
- Lindsay Lohan
- George W. Bush
- Donald Trump
The film grossed over $84.6 million, becoming the third highest grossing film to ever be directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, despite being despised by both critics and audiences. According to a bonus feature on the Rambo (2008) DVD, the high gross was caused by teenagers buying a ticket for this film and sneaking into the R-rated movie instead.
The film was heavily panned when it came out. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 2% approval rating based on 48 reviews with an average score of 1.9/10. The site's critical consensus says "A tired, unfunny, offensive waste of time, Meet the Spartans scrapes the bottom of the cinematic barrel." On Metacritic, the film has a 9/100 based on 11 reviews and a 2.8/10 on IMDb.
Aaron Hills of The Village Voice said "I'm moving to Europe". Clark Collis of Entertainment Weekly gave it a C+, saying "The result in Meet the Spartans is less classic Mel Brooks than middling Best Week Ever".
The film got nominated for five Razzie Awards (Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actress for Electra, Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Friedberg and Seltzer), but all lost to The Love Guru, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 1968 Tunnel Rats, In the Name of the King, and Postal. This movie, along with Disaster Movie, are the only Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer movies to get nominated for the Worst Picture Award.