Superhero Movie

2008, Movie, PG-13, 85 mins


Don't let Leslie Nielsen and a producer credit for David Zuker fool you: This abysmal SPIDER-MAN satire has more in common with the lamentable spate of EPIC and DATE MOVIEs than Zucker and Nielsen's truly funny NAKED GUN series.

Adopted by his Aunt Lucille (Marion Ross) and Uncle Albert (Nielsen) after his parents were murdered in a back alley in crime-ridden Empire City, Peter Parker-esque Rick Riker (Drake Bell) fears he'll never live up to his father's dying wish that he fulfill his destiny and become a hero. He has good reason to worry: Rick can't even get up the courage to tell girl-next-door Jill Johnson (Sara Paxton) he's in love with her. Jill is going out with arrogant jerk Lance Landers (Ryan Hansen, doing exactly what he did on Veronica Mars) whose father, Dr. Lou Landers (Christopher Landers), is the CEO of Amalgamated Pharmaceuticals where scientists muck about with genetically modified animal life. During a field trip to Amalgamated, Rick is bitten by a super dragonfly, and after falling ill for nearly a week, he recovers with super-strength, a tactile grip that enables him to climb walls (and accidentally get stuck to women's breasts, har har) and armor-like skin. The one thing he's afraid he can't do, however, is the one thing any superhero worth his or her salt must: fly. Lou Landers, meanwhile, has acquired a few superhuman powers of his own. The machine he developed in hopes of curing his terminal illness by altering his DNA has instead turns Dr. Landers into life-force sucking vampire. Fashioning himself into a supervillain called The Hourglass, he's now bent on draining some 42,000 citizens of Empire City of their in order to achieve immortality. The only person capable of stopping him is the costumed but still insecure Rick Ricker, aka "The Dragonfly."

Writer-director and SCARY MOVIE vet Craig Mazin's script is so devoid of anything even remotely funny that the movie is more a cheap rip-off of Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN franchise than a spoof. The effects are lousy, Bell's acting is limited to an array of reaction shots, and instead of humor we get Stephen Hawking landing face first on a hive of killer bees, Rick Riker getting gang-raped by animals, Aunt Lucille farting in her sleep and Uncle Albert having graveside sex with a corpse. And even though the movie stars Nickelodeon's popular Drake Bell (Drake & Josh) and is being heavily promoted on the channel, much of the humor isn't suitable for kids, just juvenile adults. The deleted-scenes reel at the end is nearly as long as the movie itself, so get out while you can. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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