It was early December, 2008. Immediate reaction prompted me to attend, place myself ahead of an ultimately meaningless curve; instinct told me to save my effort and time for something more constructive. Continue reading Max Brooks’ grueling zombie epic World War Z. Put in a couple of extra hours at Club H, my overpriced gymnasium of choice. Comb through Media Bistro, Indeed, and any other applicable job-hunting websites for a means of escape from the ceiling my underpaid-and-underappreciated head was ramming into on a daily basis.
Instinct won the battle. Gunshots and a celluloid casualty that led to some more World War Z. What I was passing up on had no magnetic attraction whatsoever: a chance to watch a super-early screening of the Wayans Brothers’ Dance Flick alongside the suits and lower-level employees of Paramount Pictures. My contact offered to sneak me in as her “good friend”; not to gain anything from me or my place of work for her film/client, but to simply watch a movie with a colleague she considered to be a pure, genuine movie-buff. Besides, who couldn’t use some shameless laughs once in a while, right?
The only laughs that I thought possible from Dance Flick, however, were the chuckles I would’ve directed solely at myself. “You dumbass,” I’d insult into a mirror, “you knew that it’d be an utter piece of shit, yet you still evaporated 95 minutes of your life into a never-gonna-get-it-back abyss.”
Just as several million people will do this weekend, when Dance Flick finally hits cinemas nationwide. [Continued after the jump]
There’s no question that an abusive Terminator Salvation is going to treat the Wayans brood like its unfunny, irritating little stepchildren. Well, McG’s sci-fi extravaganza will if there’s any justice in this world, at least.
Dance Flick is the latest in a neverending vortex of cinematic intelligence-bruisers that the Wayans Brothers themselves did quite well with 1996’s Don’t Be a Menace in South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, and later reinstated in 2000 with the first, and best, Scary Movie installment: the film-spoof subgenre. Furthering what Keenan Ivory Wayans reinvigorated throughout recent years are two of Hollywood’s biggest hacks-at-work, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the two-headed Medusa to good-filmmaking’s stone-faced men, the duo responsible for those laborious Disaster Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie, Kill Yourself If You Paid To See This Movie, etc. Thanks to Friedberg and Seltzer, we may never see the end of the spoof film, and, considering that the last actually-“good” one was 2001’s Scary Movie 2, it’s an ongoing streak that wreaks more havoc than it does enjoyment.
For some inconceivable reason, though, audiences keep coming out of pocket for these films. Their budgets are relatively modest, so it’s not hard to turn a profit. Rake in anywhere in the $25-30 million ballpark and you’ve got on your hands. No-name or C-list actors, intentionally-bad-looking special effects, scripts that are written on toilet paper while the screenwriters are doing their dirty deeds. It’s quick, money-churning business.
Which, I’m assuming, is why the Wayans Brothers have opted to return back to its coin-packed well, no “wishing.” And, who knows, Dance Flick could surprise the skeptics and slide into Terminator Salvation‘s opening weekend figures a little. Theres’s not a chance in Beelzebub’s hood that Dance Flick will emerge as this Memorial Day weekend’s top earner, but the movie could avoid being an enormous misfire by making $20-or-so million this holiday weekend.
And Dick Cheney could keep doing interviews and delaying his long-awaited descent into Nowhereland, as well. Worse things have happened. Case in point:
Maybe I should’ve went to see Dance Flick for free and early-in-the-game back in December. Perhaps a few hearty, cheap laughs would’ve been heard from my seat. Simply thinking about the film’s groan-at-me trailer and commercials, however, snaps me back into levelheaded reality. A scene with an obese dancer flying across the dancefloor and landing on a smaller, yelping dude? Seriously? That makes the bit with the pregnant girl pumping out her pose-striking happy-footed newborn while busting a move look like some Wes Anderson shit.
Does any thought at all go into writing a film like Dance Flick? It’s a fair question, I think. Because if you put me and a 13-year-old kid in front of a typewriter in a locked-off room for three hours, we’d no doubt come up with jokes as banal as a dude kissing his girl’s ear so passionately that his tongue shoots out of the opposite earlobe (as Shawn Wayans does in one of those commercials). There’s no creativity or wit needed to write that. Yet, these guys were paid to scribble that nonsense.
The saddest part is that the Wayans family isn’t a bunch of total washouts. In Living Color‘s unbreakable legacy is proof of that. With Dance Flick, though, the writing is completely on the wall. I’m not exactly making a never-before-thought declaration here….just one that needs to be said, as many times as possible in order to prevent a future big screen abortion from these guys: their brand of “funny” is no longer funny. Give it up. Hire some unrelated-by-blood writers to conceive stories that you can produce.
White Chicks and Little Man were the first red flags waved; now, the fight is a wrap.
I don’t wish massive failure upon anyone, so I won’t sit here and pray that Dance Flick makes a pathetic $4 million this weekend and makes Eddie Murphy feel better for last summer’s Meet Dave, or gives Mike Myers a reason to laugh off The Love Guru. No, I’ll merely put some faith into the American public that they’re wise enough to save those 12-bucks, a once-minor sum made irreplaceable in this current economic post-apocalypse. If anything, donate that $12 to charity, or support a local self-owned business in your town or city.
Makers of brain-numbing art need to learn a lesson every now and then. The same philosophy that gave me so much of a lost-temper the time my Mike Jones (Who?……Exactly) album review rating was changed to a higher grade due to industry politics/lack of backbone. Sometimes you have to let the lesser-talented know that they’re just that; otherwise, they’ll never strive to truly improve. Turning their bad work into triumphant wallet-fillers is the antithesis of productive action.
The Wayans Brothers have another great comedy product in their collective inner-arsenal. I’m sure of that.
Dance Flick is not it. Let’s force them to dust themselves off and try again.