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Rated 2.95 stars
by 683 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
A Spoof Aloof
by Adam Hakari

With 300, Beowulf, and The Last Legion under its belt, 2007 offered its fair share of ambitious epics. And because of all the elaborate adventures cinema has blessed us with over the years, the makers of the new spoof Meet the Spartans had plenty of material to lampoon. But, as with Epic Movie and Date Movie, the filmmakers seem concerned only with cramming as many lame jokes and pop culture references into a 90-minute span as they can. Date and Epic Movie may have  missed the target, but I'm not sure the people who made Meet the Spartans even know what a target is.

Heavily milking Zack Snyder's 300 as its primary  source, Meet the Spartans takes place in ancient Sparta, where the noble King Leonidas (Sean Maguire) rules with the beautiful but extremely promiscuous Queen Margo (Carmen Electra) at his side. But Sparta's peace is challenged when messengers from the god-king Xerxes (Ken Davitian) arrive to notify Leonidas of Xerxes' intentions of conquering his people. Of course, Leonidas isn't willing to bow down without a fight, gathering together a scant 13 soldiers (remember, this is a parody) to confront Xerxes' forces and give them a battle they won't soon forget -- oh, and countless jabs at pop culture ensue, not that any are funny enough to write home about, let alone funny at all.

In fact, Meet the Spartans seems to go out of its way NOT to be funny. The film manufactures dumb gags by the truckload, with about two-thirds of them having nothing to do with the sort of movies it's making fun of. One could make the case that these movies aren't meant to be straight genre parodies but rather go-for-broke assaults on all things pop culture, but when each and every one of the jokes fall flat on their faces, the flicks come across as more pathetic than ambitious. Meet the Spartans is merely the latest such film, one  so utterly desperate for a laugh it not only makes pointless references to movies, TV shows, and celebrities but also often stops to explain the reference too, as if moviegoers are hearing these jokes for the first time.

Never mind that those 300 references were worn out even before this movie came out, but imagine the same parody that's mainly poking fun at it also devoting painfully long amounts of time to lampooning Stomp the Yard, Spider-Man 3, and "Deal or No Deal." Every new gag in Meet the Spartans emerges as a new opportunity to cringe, to sit back and fathom how in the world anyone could've thought just mentioning another movie would equal instant hilarity.Adding to the pain, the cast members project about as much life and energy as a team of coma patients, from Maguire stuck doing his best Gerard Butler impersonation to Electra looking completely confused as to how she keeps getting roped into doing these moronic spoofs year after year.

Granted, there's a market for movies like Meet the Spartans, so no matter how inane, cheap, and witless they are, they'll continue to make more money than they deserve. 

MY RATING: no stars (out of ****)

(Released by 20th Centrury Fox and rated "PG-13" for crude and sexual content throughout, language and some comic violence.)

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