Superhero Movie

 
Tiresome, generic spoof is all about crude humor.
  • Review Date: March 28, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Pointedly stupid characters make pointedly wrong decisions; villain and hero are equally vulgar. Stereotypes are repeatedly played up for laughs. Rick's dead father appears in a photo wearing Ku Klux Klan robes.

Violence

Various fights involve punching, kicking, bruising, slamming bodies into/through walls and glass, and banging heads against surfaces (walls, bars). Rick is slammed by a bus stop sign; an old woman is tossed into a chipper (legs visible, no blood). Weapons include titanium stars, automatic weapons, and handguns (in a flashback, young Rick accidentally shoots his parents multiple times). References to suicide. "Barry Bonds," demonstrating steroids' effects, appears monstrous, with red laser eyes. "Tom Cruise" is killed when he attempts to fly (photo of corpse in news report). Blinking bomb attached to crotch. Flying hero hit by helicopter.

Sex

Jill shows cleavage repeatedly; Pamela Anderson shows major cleavage. Rick watches as Jill appears in her window, removing one bra and showing another beneath, then donning a literal string for a thong (not shown). Jokes about computer porn (goats, questionnaires), sex with animals (Rick is "jumped" by lab animals). In two scenes, men appear to be having sex with corpses. Woman tells her husband he has a "tiny penis." Uncle tells Rick that in puberty, "You may bleed from your vagina" (then realizes he's reading from the "wrong book"). Mention of circumcision. "Medical" Web site asks Rick if he's a virgin. "Stephen Hawking" tells students he thinks about sex, describes his "lesbian" nurse. Reference to Hooters. In a rainstorm, both Jill and Rick's nipples appear beneath their wet costumes. Aunt stuffs turkey with items that simulate sex. "Dalai Lama" stripped to diaper.

Language

Language includes one use of "f--k," plus other profanity, "s--t" (one with "dip-"), "son of a bitch," "hell," "damn," "ass" (with "dumb-"), "c--k," and "p---ies." Repeated use of the term "douche-bag" (in lyrics and speech).

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

"Stephen Hawking" offers high school students hashish. A doctor injects himself with painkiller (he faints). Aunt puts vodka in Thanksgiving turkey. Rick uses a bong to inhale cake frosting.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this broad spoof (which was written and directed by the writer of two of the Scary Movie comedies) features crude sexual humor, repeated pee and fart jokes, and violent slapstick. Sexual allusions focus on women's breasts, adolescent male lust, and bodily functions. The effects of the movie's violence are minimal and meant to be funny, though viewers do see bloody injuries and bodies being broken, wood-chipped, and burned. Language includes one use of "f--k," plus other profanity (primarily "s--t"), and there are visual or verbal mentions of hash, vodka, and a bong.

What's the story?

Like so many movie superheroes before him, Rick Riker (Drake Bell) first appears as an awkward high school student mooning over a pretty blond classmate, Jill Johnson (Sara Paxton). Like Spider-Man, he's then bitten by a genetically engineered bug that grants him a name (here, a dragonfly) and is transformed from geeky to heroic -- sort of. In this spoof, Rick confronts many obstacles: the supervillain who wants to destroy the world (Christopher McDonald); the devoted, clueless aunt (Happy Days' Marion Ross); a randy uncle (Leslie Nielsen); a wannabe sidekick (Kevin Hart); and a bald mentor in a wheelchair (Tracy Morgan). As Rick seeks his purpose as a superhero, he learns to protect Empire City from harm, trust his loved ones and, at last, how to fly.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

A decidedly generic, obvious spoof, Craig Mazin's SUPERHERO MOVIE essentially strings together scenes from other movies, reconceived as fart and sex jokes. All the gags suffer from overkill; for example, when a flashback shows little Rick and his parents attacked by criminals, the child doesn't just witness mom and dad's deaths, as in Batman Begins -- instead, he accidentally shoots them dead himself. When, as in The X-Men, he visits Dr. Xavier's "School for the Non-Asian Gifted," he sees an assortment of "mutants," ranging from a 'roid-raged Barry Bonds (Sean Simms) to a big-bosomed (but frankly tired-looking) Invisible Woman (Pamela Anderson). And when his aunt dies, his uncle doesn't just mourn her -- he tries to hump her corpse in the coffin.

It may be that the golden age for spoofs is over. With The Daily Show making fun of the news and every movie genre skewered at least once already, the concept is too familiar to be funny or very insightful, especially when the jokes hover around bathroom accidents. But it may also be that too many recent spoofs have been lazy and cheap, and that another, more intelligent effort --along the lines of Scream -- could attract a current audience and have something to say about that audience's culture as well. This, however, is not that movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the "typical" superhero story elements that the movie mocks. What characters and plots twists do you recognized from other, "real" superhero movies? Why do you think these elements are repeated in so many superhero movies, comic books, and TV shows? Why do superhero stories have such lasting appeal? Families can also discuss how the movie uses girls and women as objects of humor. Is that kind of thing OK when it's being played for laughs? Why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 28, 2008
DVD release date:July 7, 2008
Cast:Christopher McDonald, Drake Bell, Sara Paxton
Director:Craig Mazin
Studio:Dimension
Genre:Comedy
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:crude and sexual content, comic violence, drug references and language.

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  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 11 year old Written bydramaqueen@hotm... July 19, 2011
age 7+
 

funny movie enjoyed it!

the movie isn't all that bad if you have kids make sure they watch the movie with you but i loved it funny great rated Pg-13 wow seems like a rated R movie but anyway its fine for kids 7 and up to see its not that bad its actually good! love Drake Bell!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 12 years old November 10, 2011
age 14+
 

Crude and weak

Just five minutes in this film one character is called " invisibitch"
Kid, 11 years old May 29, 2011
age 11+
 

Superhero Movie

Watch the TV version.
What other families should know
Great messages

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