THE problem with film reviewing is that I have to watch the good and the bad.
For every magnificent Paul Thomas Anderson masterpiece, there’s a Paul W. S. Anderson schlockfest.
One of my goals for the year is to watch the American Film Institute Top 100 in order, starting from the bottom of the list. I’ve seen 39 already but will rewatch them all on my way to Citizen Kane.
This week I experienced a film that most definitely belongs on the other end of the scale. In fact, I am pretty sure that I can declare this The Worst Film I Have Ever Seen™. Worst (or best) of all, it’s directed by the ShamWow! guy.
Most people would know Vince Offer as the infomercial pitchman for such vital household products as ShamWow!, Slap Chop and Schticky. What you probably don’t know is that, despite selling millions of absorbent towels, Vince considers his pitchman job as a side project. His true calling is comedy filmmaking.
The Underground Comedy Movie was released straight to DVD in 1999, and is directed by and stars Offer.
The movie employs a sketch comedy format and, according to the DVD jacket, “follows the hilarious tradition of The Kentucky Fried Movie”. Hmm, let’s see. The latter was helmed by John Landis (The Blues Brothers, Animal House, An American Werewolf in London) and is a hilarious fast-paced comedy from 1980, with a plethora of guest stars. The Underground Comedy Movie is unfunny, overlong and tasteless, with three or four Z-grade cameos, directed by a hack.
So besides sharing a sketch comedy format that replicates someone changing channels on a TV, Offer’s film debut is not even in the same league. Unless also being released on a DVD in a plastic box is considered following tradition. In that case, you could say that The Underground Comedy Movie also follows in the tradition of Gone with the Wind.
I think there would be a reasonable case for false advertising. There is no comedy in this film. In fact, the DVDs were probably only manufactured in a factory that handles and processes comedy. The underground part of the title is best used as a direction for use before you watch it.
How do these sketches grab you? A Batman parody featuring a man dressed in a baseball uniform, carrying a baseball bat ... Two supermodels going to the toilet ... A superhero character with a head that resembles genitalia ... A hip hop talk show with a guest from the KKK ... I can hear you chortling from my typewriter.
How about The Miss America Bag Lady Pageant, featuring a cameo from Guns N’ Roses’ Slash? Or the late Michael Clark Duncan in a sleazy bar resisting advances because he wants to save himself for the right man? The hilarity never stops. It never starts either.
I honestly did not laugh once. I will only confess to a single titter during a rather aged Baywatch parody where the camera keeps getting distracted by girls in bikinis, ignoring the lifeguards dramatically rescuing people.
The Underground Comedy Movie is just awful. Luckily, its R18+ classification should keep away its intended audience until they are old enough to know better than to waste 90 minutes and $5 on this junk.
I want my time back. I want my money back. And I want a Schticky.