Weekend Roundtable: Worst Parody Spoof Movies

With precious few exceptions, the parody spoof genre is one of the laziest forms of entertainment a filmmaker can turn to when in need of a quick, easy buck. For every true gem like ‘Airplane!’ or ‘Blazing Saddles’ are a dozen turds like ‘Epic Movie’ or (from the looks of it) this week’s ‘Fifty Shades of Black’. In today’s Roundtable, let’s look at some of the worst of the worst.

Shannon Nutt

This wasn’t an easy topic for me – not because there aren’t plenty of options to choose from, but because these are generally the kinds of movies I avoid like the plague. However, one that jumps to mind is 1996’s ‘Spy Hard‘, which tried to take Leslie Neilsen and make a ‘Naked Gun’-style parody film in the secret agent genre. What could go wrong? Everything, as it turns out. The movie is completely unfunny, with ONE exception: the hilarious opening theme from Weird Al Yankovic, which deserves to be in a much better movie. In fact, should you ever come across ‘Spy Hard’, watch the opening credits and then turn the movie off. You’ll thank me.

Brian Hoss

I’m going with ‘Meet the Spartans‘ for two reasons. First, I’ve actual seen a significant chunk of this movie as a result of a friend and I accidentally walking into the wrong theater. I love spoof movies, but this junk is completely unwatchable. It’s like trying to endure tear gas, and I’d rather watch something by Uwe Boll.

Second, it was with ‘Meet the Spartans’ that I realized the duo of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer were on a quest to completely destroy the genre – a task in which they’ve mostly been successful. ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ is the only recent spoof film that seems to even try.

M. Enois Duarte

As though the Friedberg and Seltzer spoofs couldn’t be any worse, Marlon Wayans and long-time collaborators Rick Alvarez and Michael Tiddes took a massive dump on cinema with ‘A Haunted House 2‘. By default, sequels always seem to be worse than their predecessors, but what happens when the first movie is already godawful?. Of course, the follow-up is bound to sink even lower.

An unwatchable, atrocious pile of garbage, the sequel is a bombardment of asinine physical pratfalls, idiotic cultural references and offensive vulgarities parading as comedy. Amazingly, Wayans plummets to an all-time low, if that’s even possible, with his performance as a scaredy-cat, effeminate husband, doing the grossest and dumbest things possible out of desperation and to appease only the most immature in the audience. Aside from a couple sporadic chuckles, there’s absolutely nothing to enjoy in this movie.

Luke Hickman

I know that many people love it, but I cannot stand the ‘Scary Movie‘ franchise. None of the movies are funny. In fact, I recall watching the latter two and not laughing once. The most iconic player in the spoof genre was Leslie Nielsen, so I found it extra disappointing when he can aboard the franchise in the end. Although it was Nielsen delivering the lines, the lines themselves felt like knock-offs of Nielsen’s true spoof prowess. Give me an ‘Airplane!’, ‘Naked Gun’ or ‘Hot Shots’ movie any day – but never make me watch another ‘Scary Movie’ again.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

Seven years after willingly enduring ‘Disaster Movie‘, I’m still not sure if I’ve completely recovered.

One of the first set-pieces in the flick has Flava Flav rocking a Viking helmet and leaping out of a guy’s bed. There’s no gag or anything wrapped around it; I guess you’re just supposed to think, “Oh, wow! It’s Flava Flav! How random and crazy is that?!” If you don’t pick up on the reference, he helpfully shouts “Flava Flav! Yeah, booooooooy! I’m Flava Flav! Flava of Love. I’m Flava Flav!” That’s pretty much a direct transcription, along with something about sucking his clock. You see, Flava Flav wears a clock around his neck. Now do you get it?

There’s not a pop culture reference that Friedberg and Seltzer aren’t eager to vomit on the screen, no matter how far past their sell-by dates they may be. There often aren’t even any jokes swirling around ’em. Remember that part in ‘Juno’ where that girl talked on a hamburger phone? There’s an actress who looks vaguely like her talking on a hamburger phone here too! That’s not the launching pad for some wacky hijinks that follow; someone does something you saw in a movie trailer, and that alone is supposed to pass for a joke.

Because I hate myself, I kept some running tallies:

  • Poop jokes: 4
  • Jokes where the only punchline is someone busting out profanity: If you count the “I’m F***ing Matt Damon” ripoff (also titled “I’m F***ing Matt Damon” because of course it is), 58. Otherwise…? 7
  • Jokes where the only punchline is a character from a movie trailer or whatever getting whacked over the head or crushed: 7
  • Ow, my balls!: 4
  • Gags with actors being drenched in gallons of Juno’s bodily fluids: 2
  • That overused sound of a record skipping to punctuate a really lame joke: 1
  • Look! It’s a little person, therefore I should probably laugh even though they’re not friggin’ doing anything: 2
  • Hey, that guy’s naked!: 3
  • Songs Alvin and the Chipmunks Play Before Chewing on a Guy’s Groin for, Like, Six Minutes Straight: 3

Josh Zyber

The 1967 ‘Casino Royale‘ exists only as a licensing rights fluke. After the wild success of the early James Bond movies starring Sean Connery, producer Charles K. Feldman grabbed up the rights to Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, which had somehow escaped the grasp of Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Realizing that he stood no chance of making a serious spy movie that could compete with the official franchise, Feldman decided instead to turn the title into a madcap parody. The film he came up with has no less than five different directors (including John Huston!), seven James Bonds, dozens of celebrity cameos, more bad puns than whole season of ‘Laugh-In’, and barely half a dozen funny jokes in the whole damn thing.

The movie’s plot doesn’t make a whit of sense, which wouldn’t necessarily be a problem for a comedy so long as it was funny. Sadly, as hard as it tries to be funny, it’s just not. At all. It’s almost remarkable how far from funny the whole thing is. At 2 hours and 17 minutes, the movie is long and dull with only a small handful of amusing gags or set-pieces popping up infrequently. Part of me wonders if the movie just hasn’t aged well, but the rest of me realizes that it was never very good to begin with.

It took four decades for EON Productions to finally obtain the rights to the original Ian Fleming novel and make an official Bond movie out of ‘Casino Royale’. Fortunately, the result (the first entry in the reboot cycle starring Daniel Craig) was one of the franchise’s best entries and has redeemed the title.

What are the worst parody spoof movies you’ve ever seen? Tell us in the Comments.

21 comments

    • photogdave

      Sorry, but Kung Pow is a brilliant parody movie – I still quote it on a regular basis.
      It was sadly mis-promoted with that stupid Matrix cow bit (the worst part of the movie) but its What’s Up Tiger Lilly? technique applied to kung-fu movies is hilarious. There are a few rough patches, as with any parody movie, but it’s miles ahead of any of the crap mentioned in this discussion.

      • Csm101

        I’ll give you that it’s a little better than the crap mentioned above, ( excluding the first Scary Movie,which I enjoy quite a bit and never seen Casino Royale) in that he took an existing movie and turned it into a spoof, but it is far from brilliant. A for effort, F for execution.

        • photogdave

          But you said you only sat through 15 minutes. You missed all the best stuff: Gopher-chucks (nice Beast Master referene), Wimp Lo (“We trained him wrong on purpose. As a joke.”), the ventriloquist double-act, and so much more!

          • Bolo

            I found ‘Kung-Pow: Enter the Fist’ really funny, too. A lot of really absurd crazy gags in there. It’s just outright surreal.

  1. I bailed after 15 minutes of the 1967 Casino Royale.

    There was a nudie version of Blair Witch called The Bare Wench Project. I note it launched two sequels.

    Films like Pterodactyl Woman of Beverly Hills and Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death are probably not legitimate spoofs. What would they be referencing?

    I wondered if Inland Empire wasn’t a spoof of David Lynch films, or just an FU to his fans.

    -Bill

    • William Henley

      I made it all the way through Casino Royale, but that may just be because I was watching it with a buddy, and he was determined to sit through it until the end. I wouldn’t put it up there with Worst Spoofs, but its not a great movie either. It’s a Meh movie for me. Only reason I really have it is to complete out the Bond collection. (Now if I could just get that made for television Casino Royale with Jimmy Bond, the collection will be complete).

      • Josh Zyber
        Author

        The American TV version of Casino Royale starring Barry Nelson was included as a supplement on the 1967 movie’s DVD release. Unfortunately, it was not carried over to the Blu-ray. I believe the rights moved to a different distributor which released its own standalone DVD edition.

        • William Henley

          Thanks. I should probably look for it. It hasn’t been a priority, just kind of a annoyance that my collection isn’t complete

  2. EM

    Good call on Spy Hard, as an execrable film with a delectable opening-credits sequence. That video—sans actual credits—is available on some “Weird Al” video collections. Note that Al’s bit of self-satisfied mugging about 1:47–1:49 into the video is Al’s reaction to seeing his own credit.

    As I recall, the end credits had a different version of the song…I vaguely recall lyrics such as “You’ve been watching Spy Hard! Thanks for watching Spy Hard! It’s the end of Spy Hard!” The opening song is on Al’s Gump EP/pseudo-single; I wish the end song had a release, as I certainly don’t want to put on the movie to hear that song again.

  3. I’ll never forget going to the drive-in and seeing Airplane. I didn’t want to go and had no idea it was a parody or even a comedy for that matter, and it took me by complete and hilarious surprise. Though not asked, that may be my favorite parody.

    Nothing was worse than Meet the Spartans. It may have set a new record for least amount of time spent wasting time before turning it off.

    Maybe it’s an age thing, but when Casino Royale came out in ’67 it was fairly controversial and was one of those fascinating “how many guest actors can we cameo” films. While perhaps it may not have aged well, for historical purposes…even the thought at the time of making fun of James Bond and casting Woody Allen……I have to disagree with this being one of the worst made.

    • William Henley

      I was 16 when it came out and loved it, but I haven’t seen it since. I am willing to bet it won’t hold up to my nostalgia for it.

    • EM

      Were you depending on subtitles or dubbing? Maybe the translation was funnier, i.e., funny.

      The dark-house-mystery spoof The Private Eyes was hilarious when I saw it theatrically when I was 10…not so hilarious when I saw it on TV at age 16. I almost wanted to cry.

  4. I stopped seeing parody films after I walked out of Scary Movie 2 (only movie I’ve ever walked out on). Not only was it not funny, but the filmmakers seemed to have not even seen the movies they were parodying-rather filming a version of a parody based on what they had heard the movies were like.

  5. Man, the first Scary Movie was hilarious, after that, not at all really. But I still loved the first one, ANYTHING those two idiots make is terrible, although I occasionally find a scene or two which really stand out, like the Alvin and the Chipmunks piece in, I think, Disaster Movie? For some reason that had me laughing pretty good, horribly low budget puppet rip offs of them and they turn super evil and go nuts and try to eat people to death metal? I found that pretty funny 🙂

    • Csm101

      I hated Disaster Movie quite a bit, but the scene where they do a Sex and the City spoof and a dude turns around who kind of looks like Sara Jessica Parker puts me in tears! I’d almost buy the movie just for that scene alone. 😂

      • Exactly what I mean, for some reason, I’ve sat down and actually sludged through some of these, its hard but there is always one scene, that really has me laughing, its like they have the slightest clue what was actually funny for ONE tiny eency weency moment 🙂

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