The presence of Airplane’s David Zucker amongst the executive producers and Leslie Nielsen amongst the cast raises hopes that Superhero Movie might offer a classier strain of parody than Date Movie or Meet the Spartans. Alas, writer-director Craig Mazin’s attempt to deflate comic-book pomposity comes up short on laughs as it details the transformation of Rick Riker (Drake Bell). This high-schooler is bitten by a rare species of insect and eventually harnesses his special powers as caped crusader Dragonfly to fight crime in the nasty form of Christopher McDonald’s Hourglass.
Superhero Movie has a few fragments of inspiration. When Rick and Jill (Sara Paxton) meet for a secret moonlight tryst, a voice shouts from a nearby window: ‘You no-good slut, you’ll come to no good, just like your mother.’ ‘Who was that?’ Rick asks. ‘My mother,’ Jill deadpans nicely. Other jokes, including extended riffs on Tom Cruise’s scientology and some cruel references to Stephen Hawking, fall heavily flat, with Nielsen’s contribution as Rick’s Uncle Albert is disappointing.
A skit where Nielsen repeatedly fires nails into people’s groins as least shows he’s still got comic timing, his final scene, overenthusiastically dry humping a corpse in a cemetery, doesn’t exactly leave you wanting more, much like Superhero Movie itself.
General release from Fri 6 Jun.